Equity in the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services

Since 2008, the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has strategically focused its efforts on establishing Equity as a foundational value for its work. Key to this effort was to define what Equity means to the department and its staff. The overarching goal was to promote sustainable culture change and perspective transformation throughout the department. The “Culture of Equity” framework advances a holistic approach in the design and development of policy, practice, and resources.

At the core of this strategic transformation, the Director charged staff to continue to examine our business model, and to adopt an accelerated transformation agenda: Service Integration, Equity, Technology Modernization, and to develop a capable and competent workforce with strong partnerships.  This is the story of a Department willing to turn the lens inward and engage in courageous conversations to champion and engage organizational change efforts to embrace the value of equity.

DHHS Equity Journey

The  Equity Journey documents the focus of this Department to understand how systemic and environmental challenges were impacting the health and well-being of the community, and how we determined ways to transform practices so that they are streamlined, appropriate, accessible and equitable.
To find out more about establishing a Culture of Equity in the department, see our Equity Journey.​

What is Equity?

Equity is providing all people with fair opportunities to attain their full potential. Inequities are differences in well-being between and within communities that are systematic, patterned, unfair, or can be changed.

Equity is a value of fairness that guides the way that DHHS works with customers, staff, and community to promote health, safety, well-being and self-sufficiency. Together we build a culture of inclusion: a Department that tailors its approaches to achieve the best possible outcomes for the communities and customers we serve. ​

Learn more about the DHHS Equity Standards and Principles​​.


Resources in the County


Racial Equity Resources (NEW)
Click on the  title above for resources and information on racial disparities and inequities in the U.S.

Racial Equity and Social Justice Website

African American Health Program 

The African American Health Program (AAHP) was created and funded in 1999 by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  The mission of the AAHP is to eliminate health disparities and improve the number and quality of years of life for African American people and people of African descent in Montgomery County.  The program focuses on health and wellness while targeting six major health areas--infant mortality, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, oral health, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Asian American Health Initiative

The Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI) was established to help eliminate health disparities that exist between Asian Americans and their non-Asian counterparts. The mission of AAHI is to identify the health care needs of the Asian American community, to develop culturally competent health care services, and to implement health education programs that are accessible and available for all Asian Americans in Montgomery County. 

Latino Health Initiative
This program aims to improve the quality of life of Latinos living in Montgomery County by contributing to the development and implementations of an integrated, coordinated, culturally and linguistically competent health wellness system that support, values and respects Latino families and communities.

Leadership Institute for Equity and the Elimination of Disparities (LIEED)

Specifically designed to focus on racial/ethnic minority communities and underserved populations in the county, LIEED was formed by expanding the role of the three minority health program managers and combining the work of Equity and Outreach within the Office of Community Affairs. The charge is to address social determinants of health with the goal of eliminating disparities and achieving equity among residents of Montgomery County.

Montgomery County Community Action Agency​
The mission of the Montgomery County Community Action Agency (CAA) is to reduce poverty and increase self-sufficiency among county residents through services, partnerships and advocacy.  The CAA, the County’s federally-designated anti-poverty agency, is part of Montgomery’s County Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Affairs, and a member of the National Community Action Partnership and the Maryland Community Action Partnership.

infoMONTGOMERY.org is a collaborative effort of public and private agencies to provide detailed information about health, education and human service resources throughout Montgomery County, MD. ​

Cultural and Linguistic Competency Resources

Cultural Competence Assessment Tool
A tool to operationalize the CLAS guidelines, created by the Boston Public Health Commission. 

Racial Equity Toolkit
Created by the Greenlining Institute, this toolkit is a guide for applying a racial equity lens to policy issues. ​​

Learning Opportunities

Prevention Institute: Health Equity and Prevention Primer
An online learning tool for practitioners. The modules are equity focused and intended to assist practitioners in incorporating health equity into their work. 

Roots of Health Inequity
An online course to increase the knowledge of public health practitioners so that they can tackle the root causes of health inequities. Funded by NIH and created by NACCHO. 

Unnatural Causes
An acclaimed documentary series broadcast by PBS and now used by thousands of organizations around the country to tackle the root causes of our alarming socio-economic and racial inequities in health. ​


Racial Equity Toolkit
Created by the Greenlining Institute, this toolkit is a guide for applying a racial equity lens to policy issues.

Local Health Department Organizational Self-Assessment for Addressing Health Disparities
The Organizational Self-Assessment (Self-Assessment) for Addressing Health Inequities Toolkit (Toolkit) provides public health leaders with tools and guidelines that help identify the skills, organizational practices and infrastructure needed to address health equity and provide insights into steps LHDs can take to ensure their organization can have an impact on this growing problem.

Urban Instit​ute Research
Explore the issues and expand your research knowledge with the resources available on the Urban Institute Website.

Equity Work in Other Jurisdictions

MCPS Equity Initiatives Unit
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
King County, WA
Boston, MA
Multnomah County, OR
Alameda County, CA

Arlington, VA




Montgomery County Data

Healthy Montgomery
Compare Montgomery County's health with other Maryland communities, the nation, and national targets on almost 100 indicators. 

Self-Sufficiency Standard for Maryland 2016
The Self-Sufficiency Standard measures how much income a family of a certain composition in a given place must earn to meet their basic needs.

Statewide Data

Maryland Chartbook of Minority Health and Minority Health Disparities
This document includes information on how to identify and measure disparities, plan interventions, and track progress. 

National Equity Atlas
A comprehensive data resource to track, measure, and make the case for inclusive growth. ​



Contact Us

If you would like to request a special workshop for your group or organization, or if you have other questions/inquiries about the Equity work, please contact: 

Betty Lam

Elsie Ansong 

Karen Gutierrez

Events & Activities

Spring Workshops 2022-

Building Blocks To Understanding Equity-  Wednesday, March 16th (10am-12pm) via Zoom

Implicit Bias Training-  Tuesday, April 26th & Thursday, April 28th (10:30am-12:15pm) via Zoom

                                    Tuesday, June 7th & Thursday, June 9th (10:30am-12:15pm) via Zoom



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