SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity (OBHE) was established in accordance with Section 10334 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. Section 10334(b) of ACA required six agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish offices of minority health.
OBHE launched in 2012. OBHE coordinates SAMHSA efforts to reduce behavioral health (mental health and substance abuse) disparities for diverse racial and ethnic and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations. OBHE’s efforts are geared to promote health equity for all racial and ethnic and LGBT populations, and support populations vulnerable to behavioral health disparities.
OBHE is organized around five key strategies: data, communication, policy, quality practice and workforce development and customer service/technical assistance. OBHE seeks to impact SAMHSA policy and initiatives by:
- Creating a more strategic focus on racial, ethnic and LGBT populations in SAMHSA investments;
- Using a data-informed quality improvement approach to address racial and ethnic disparities in SAMHSA programs;
- Promoting behavioral health equity at a national level;
- Increasing awareness and access to information regarding behavioral disparities and strategies to promote health equity;
- Ensuring that SAMHSA policy, funding initiatives and collaborations include emphasis on decreasing disparities;
- Implementing innovative, cost-effective training strategies to a diverse workforce;
- Serving as a trusted broker of behavioral health disparity and equity information.
Last Updated: 04/09/2013