Announcing CDC’s NCHHSTP Equity Initiative

Content From: Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH, RADM and Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS, Director, National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionPublished: March 01, 20232 min read



In January 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) announced the NCHHSTP Equity Initiative. The initiative, which was put into practice in February 2021, is a transformational long-term strategy designed to achieve equity within the Center’s workplace and eliminate health disparities by addressing racism and other systems of oppression that hinder our mission. The Initiative builds on decades of successful work—by NCHHSTP staff, our partners, and advocates—giving us a strong foundation of proven strategies and bold ideas to advance equity.

HIV, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections, and TB are diseases that impact everyone in the nation, but not equally. Across NCHHSTP’s work and workforce, we address equity through high-level thinking, bold partnerships, collaboration, and strategy integration. We also unite teams from other sectors, such as education, housing, labor, economic development, law enforcement, and healthcare, and challenge them to achieve real and meaningful outcomes.

The Initiative includes an Implementation Plan that outlines the first steps of a long-term process to place equity squarely at the forefront of all internal and external Center activities. The Plan is organized into three focus areas with goals, objectives, and activities to support achieving the goals:

  • Ensuring a workplace culture that is inclusive, collaborative, and anti-racist, and one that encourages all staff to engage in dialogue about racism and other systems of oppression.
  • Establishing workplace practices and policies that further increase diversity, ensure fair and equitable opportunities for advancement, and eliminate discrimination.
  • Refining our systems and processes for designing, funding, and evaluating research, programs, policy, and partnerships to ensure they are intentionally, systematically, and consistently focused on addressing the social and structural causes of health disparities.

“This Initiative leverages best practices that NCHHSTP and our partners have developed and tested over decades of groundbreaking equity work,” said NCHHSTP Deputy Director Deron Burton, MD, JD, MPH (CAPT, USPHS). “It moves us forward by ensuring that we apply an equity lens intentionally and systematically in all that we do. The implementation plan provides a shared playbook to unify and amplify our collective efforts to achieve equity.”

We are striving to make this nation a healthier and better place for all who live here. That means addressing the drivers of inequity—these include policies and laws that directly or indirectly cause discriminatory outcomes among different populations. Doing this vital work will help us and encourage others to take real steps to eliminate disparities in the diseases and infections we address.

To learn more, visit the NCHHSTP Equity Initiative page.