Behavioral Health Equity banner

About the Behavioral Health Equity Program (BHEP)

The Office of Behavioral Health Equity coordinates SAMHSA’s efforts to reduce disparities in mental and/or substance use disorders across populations.

The SAMHSA OBHE was established in accordance with Section 10334(b) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 (PDF | 2.2 MB). The law requires six agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services to establish offices of minority health.

OBHE’s efforts are geared to promote health equity for all racial and ethnic, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT), populations, and support populations vulnerable to behavioral health disparities.

OBHE is organized around five key strategies:

  1. The data strategy ensures that SAMHSA surveillance and performance data guide program planning to address behavioral health disparities.
  2. The communication strategy promotes awareness and access to information about behavioral health disparities.
  3. The policy strategy addresses relevant disparity issues and behavioral health equity by targeting these issues in SAMHSA policy and funding initiatives.
  4. The quality practice and workforce development strategy creates and supports innovative, cost effective trainings that contribute to a well-trained, high quality, diverse workforce.
  5. The customer service/technical assistance strategy establishes BHEP as a trusted broker of disparity-related information and experts.

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 health 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: 01/17/2018