The National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA) through the auspices of the Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created a roadmap for eliminating health disparities, called the National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity in 2009. The strategy identifies goals most important to communities and the strategies and action steps to effectively attain those goals. Recognizing that in order to reach broad agreement of strategies to address disparities in diverse communities, that all sectors should be involved the Office of Minority Health reached out to diverse stakeholders to become involved and implement the strategy, refine it over time, and assess progress over time. The implementation framework brings leaders together as regional health equity councils. This facilitates the ability of communities to operationalize the National Stakeholder Strategy based on the regional needs and within their areas of influence.
The Regional Health Equity Councils (RHECs) are independent non-governmental organizations located in the ten health regions across the country. Council members are leaders and stakeholders from non-federal public and private sectors within each region. Their primary role is to initiate action to implement the goals of the NPA to eliminate health disparities. Some of the tasks these councils have undertaken are: identify key health disparities and inequities and their determinants, and develop a plan to eliminate them; initiate new and support existing policies that support health equity and eliminate disparities; leverage the collective capacities and opportunities of council members and other stakeholders to collaborate and address health disparities through strategic actions. These RHECs are a resource for organizations and systems that are seeking to address health disparities within their communities.