Health Equity Projects

Addressing COVID-19 Health Disparities

OPHE, in partnership with other offices across Maine DHHS, is overseeing a series of new initiatives to advance health equity in communities at higher risk of COVID-19, including racial and ethnic minority groups and people living in rural communities. This effort is supported by a $32.1 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC).

Key Strategies

  • Data and Reporting: Increase/improve data collection and reporting for populations experiencing a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 infection, severe illness, and death to guide the response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Infrastructure Support: Build, leverage, and expand infrastructure support for COVID-19 prevention and control among populations that are at higher risk and underserved
  • Partner Mobilization: Mobilize partners and collaborators to advance health equity and address social determinants of health as they relate to COVID-19 health disparities among populations at higher risk and that are underserved

Outreach and Engagement


Improving Equity in DHHS Services

Establishment of OPHE and Health Equity Advisory Council

Re-establishment of the Office of Population Health Equity within Maine CDC and establishment of a pilot Health Equity Advisory Council (HEAC). The goal of the HEAC is to ensure DHHS’s programming and strategy align with community needs and is informed by community expertise. The Council includes 16 members who are community leaders, care providers, and professionals, representative of the diverse communities in Maine.

Department-wide Capacity Building Projects

Initiatives to improve the Department's ability to implement racial equity-informed strategies and advance structural change within the Department. Activities will focus on staff trainings on equity-informed policymaking, improvements to procurement systems to increase engagement and awards for businesses and organizations led by people of color, and other activities in alignment with DHHS’s Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (PDF).

Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Member Communications

Interrelated projects based in the Office of MaineCare Services and the Office of Family Independence aimed at improving culturally and linguistically appropriate messaging across DHHS and to address the end of the Medicaid Continuous Coverage Requirement.

OPHE COVID-19 Disparities Grant Awards

Upcoming Opportunities

Community-led and developed needs assessments will be used to further CBO capacity around data ownership and stewardship, as well as inform Maine DHHS and CDC’s strategic direction.

Awards to be determined following upcoming competitive procurement opportunity.