Florida Public Health Review


Health Equity is the idea that everyone has the opportunity to achieve optimal health regardless of race/ethnicity, educational attainment, sexual orientation, income, religious affiliation, residence, or ability. In 2014, the Florida Department of Health in Orange County (DOH-Orange) deemed health equity one of its three agency priorities. Though there are a number of determinants that influence health outcomes, such as genetics, individual behavior choices, and access to health services, the social determinants tend to be the most complex and influential on quality of life and well-being. The DOH-Orange has implemented the Culturally Linguistically and Appropriate Services standards for Healthcare (CLAS) which offer a framework for healthcare providers to advance health equity by addressing the cultural and linguistic needs of populations that traditionally have received unequal access to healthcare services. Achieving health equity is a challenging process that will likely take at least a generation. However, only by achieving healthy equity can we ensure that health disparities are eliminated and the influence of social determinants of health are negligible.