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Wis. Dept. of Health Services announces creation of Office of Health Equity

(Source: Gray Media)
(Source: Gray Media)(Source: Gray Media)
Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 6:48 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin’s top health agency announced the creation of an Office of Health Equity Monday to improve health outcomes of historically underrepresented groups.

This new office will do research and analyze policy to address causes of differing health outcomes, the Department of Health Services explained.

Gov. Tony Evers said COVID-19 has only emphasized the need for the state to address health disparities.

“I’m proud of the work our agencies have been doing to connect the dots on this issue and that DHS is doing to make long-lasting changes that prioritize the health and well-being of folks across our state,” he said.

According to DHS, Hispanic or Latinx people living in Wisconsin are more than one and a half times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 compared to those who are white. People who are Black are also twice as likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and those who are American Indian are one and a half times more likely to die from COVID-19, according to the data dashboard.

DHS secretary-designee Karen Timberlake said the agency needs to change circumstances that create health disparities in order to provide better outcomes.

“Our Office of Health Equity will help us continue to address health disparities and promote a culture of inclusion where Wisconsinites from all racial and ethnic identities, ages, nationalities, social and economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, religious, political and ideological perspectives, and physical and mental abilities are able to thrive and be engaged in their communities,” said Timberlake.

DHS is currently recruiting for the director of the office, who will “shape the future of our agency’s diversity, equity, and inclusion work both within the internal workforce culture and for the externally facing work of DHS.”

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