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Mission and Focus

The fact that discrimination exists doesn’t make us all guilty. But the fact that discrimination persists might. If we are too comfortable with the way things are, too uncomfortable to truthfully look at what is happening and talk about it and change it, we are complicit in it.” Monica Wendel, Associate Dean for Public Health Practice   


The mission of OPHP is to engage academic and community expertise in the integration of practice, research, and teaching to advance social justice and health equity, and to build capacity for population health improvement in our partner communities.  We accomplish this by cultivating and protecting relationships, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource, collaborating to develop, implement, and evaluate tailored strategies to address health issues, and contributing new knowledge to the community and the public health discipline.


Public health is grounded in social justice principles, and health equity is inherently linked to social justice.  OPHP is focused on working with communities to understand the deep drivers of social and health disparities, and to convene stakeholders in communities to engage in critical dialogue and action to alleviate disparities.  The root causes for a multitude of health disparities trace back to social disparities in areas such as education, housing, socioeconomic status, job opportunity, and transportation, which trace back to systemic and structural inequities and discrimination.

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