National Minority Health Month 2023: Baking Health Equity into NOFOs

Posted on April 25, 2023 by Grace Liggett, MPH, Health Communication Specialist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Office of Health Equity (OHE) is celebrating 35 years of “baking” health equity into the work we do. “Baking” health equity into our work means that health equity principles are foundational ingredients, rather than separate ingredients we layer in, sprinkle on top, or serve on the side. OHE works across CDC to find opportunities to incorporate health equity into all aspects of the agency – from science and interventions to partnerships and our workforce.

One part of this multifaceted effort centers on CDC funding mechanisms, specifically non-research Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs). While NOFOs include basic information about funding opportunities, they can also help ensure that the public health initiatives funded through the NOFO include strategies that can reduce or prevent health disparities, including those experienced by populations that are minoritized and stigmatized.

OHE collaborates across the agency to help CDC programs incorporate health equity into their NOFOs. Most recently, OHE updated the CDC non-research NOFO template to provide new guidance on addressing health disparities and health equity. Among other components, the changes prompt NOFO writers to emphasize that applicants should provide culturally and linguistically competent services and prioritize minoritized and disproportionately impacted populations. Additional resources were added for NOFO writers, such as CDC’s Health Equity Guiding Principles for Communication. These updates were based on recommendations developed in alignment with CDC’s CORE Health Equity Science and Intervention Strategy and build on previous efforts to embed health equity guidance into CDC NOFOs.

“These changes represent an important step forward in our efforts to align all CDC functions with health equity principles. CDC funding has a tremendous impact on our nation’s public health infrastructure, and these changes will help ensure the funding awarded from CDC goes to programs and entities that are committed to and able to make an impact in advancing health equity,” remarked Leandris Liburd, PhD, MPH, MA, Acting Director for OHE.

As we celebrate our 35th anniversary and National Minority Health Month, we’re energized by the work happening across HHS and with our partners to advance “better health through better understanding” for all. OHE is committed to “baking” health equity into all that we do and incorporating health equity principles into our NOFOs is just one of the dishes we’re bringing to the table. We look forward to meeting you there.