Welcome to the Office of Population Health Equity

Maine CDC’s Office of Population Health Equity (OPHE) advances health equity by illuminating and addressing underlying conditions and systems that limit the full potential of all Maine people to lead healthy, safe, and opportunity-rich lives.

Social determinants of health – the conditions in which we are born, grow, age, live, and work – affect health outcomes. All those factors have been shaped by generations of systemic inequity and discrimination, resulting in health disparities for some communities, especially, but not limited to people that identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color; immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers; those who are LGBTQ+; and persons with disabilities.

OPHE collaborates with programs across Maine CDC and partners with community leaders to ensure that Maine’s public health initiatives are informed by and reflect the needs of the people we serve with a focus on the promotion and protection of the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work, and play.

What is Health Equity?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) defines health equity as, “when everyone has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible.”

Achieving health equity requires identifying and addressing social, economic, and other systemic barriers that create obstacles to accessing care and result in poor health outcomes, such as, poverty, environmental conditions, housing, employment, education, and cultural and language differences.

These barriers result from structural racism, discrimination, stigma, and disenfranchisement, and overwhelmingly impact communities that are underresourced, including communities of color, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, women, people who are currently or formerly incarcerated, those without homes, and those who live in rural areas.

These inequities do not just affect those groups that are hardest hit; they affect us all.

What is Population Health?

Population health is a collaborative approach to public health that encourages partnerships with non-traditional stakeholders, including community-based organizations, cultural brokers, educational institutions, and policy makers, to gain knowledge about the characteristics and needs of the communities and people we serve in an effort to identify ways to improve health equity and achieve positive health outcomes.

Population Health and Health Equity in Maine

Office of Population Health Equity Newsletter

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Contact the Office of Population Health Equity

  • Ian Yaffe, Director
  • Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Office of Population Health Equity
  • 286 Water Street
  • Augusta, ME 04333-0011
  • Phone: Maine CDC General Information / Receptionist: (207) 287-8016
  • TTY users call Maine Relay 711
  • Email: health.equity@maine.gov