Connecticut has long been a proponent of "equity" in health care.
Much of the information contained in the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) "Equity Toolkit" has been around for years, so this nothing new.
In fact, the DPH Office of Health Equity was created out of Section 5 of Connecticut General Assembly's Public Act 14-231 "An Act Concerning The Department Of Public Health's Recommendations Regarding Various Revisions To The Public Health Statutes," which was signed into law by Governor Dannel P. Malloy on June 13, 2014.
But after the implosion of Ibram X. Kendi's antiracism center at Boston University and the revelation that Florida State University criminology professor Eric Stewart—the guru who proclaimed that “systemic racism” infested America’s police and American society—was fired for "extreme negligence" and "false results" in his research, many people are questioning the intense focus on "equity" employed by so many institutions.
Now more than ever people equate the word "equity" with the Marxist doctrine of critical race theory, and recognize that using the "equity lens" is a euphemism for dividing the world into two classes: the oppressed and the oppressors.
So what does the DPH Health Equity Toolkit actually promote in the name of health equity?
Let's take a quick look.
The toolkit includes some basic, non-controversial information like resources for understanding and implementing the National CLAS Standards, an approach approximating the language needs for Limited English Proficient populations using Census data, and a variety of translation services.
It includes a "living document" with definitions used to communicate key concepts of equity, social determinants, and related, commonly used terms including: equity, equity lens, health equity, health inequity, gender, and social justice perspective, among others.
The toolkit includes a variety of articles and publications for exploring topics related to the social determinants of health and health equity. Many of these resources address how to "apply the equity lens" to achieve health equity, though a number of resources point to broken links.
Then there is the most important piece of any equity program, the social justice element.
CT DPH highlights and promotes social justice issues including Black Lives Matters and racial justice, transgender justice (to access the bathroom that aligns with gender identity not necessarily biological sex), immigrant "rights" and sanctuary cities (to stop the deportation of illegal immigrants), environmental justice (e.g., fighting against the oil pipeline), and more.
In order to eliminate root causes of social injustices, CT DPH states that organizations must identify and eliminate all forms of oppression and discrimination. This is often done through something called an "equity audit".
It turns out that all Connecticut executive branch agencies, including DPH, recently participated in the state of Connecticut's equity study which will be used to further advance equity at the state and agency levels.
The equity study came in response to President Biden's executive order requiring the examination of equity in federal programs and policies which the State of Connecticut addressed through Section 81 of Public Act No. 21-2.
On March 16, 2023, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), and the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) announced a partnership with Faulkner Consulting Group (FCG) to conduct the equity study.
The results of the equity study are due later this month.