Open Society Institute-Baltimore is proud to announce that our Drug Addiction Treatment program will be identified as the Addiction and Health Equity program going forward.
In the 20 years since OSI created the Drug Addiction Treatment program, the healthcare landscape around drug use and addiction has shifted in important ways, leading us to take a fresh look at how we describe our work. We made this decision in consultation with our community partners and grantees, to better reflect the growth of our work over the past two decades. Our new program name is intended to signal our commitment to using an equity lens to address the need for access to high quality behavioral health care for all Baltimore residents.
Our program’s mission is to generate and promote innovative ideas that improve health equity and lower the threshold to high-quality behavioral health services, reduce stigma, and support community engagement to improve public health in Baltimore.
For those unfamiliar with the term “health equity,” it simply reflects our goal for everyone to have a fair opportunity to live a long, healthy life. It implies that health should not be compromised or disadvantaged because of race, ethnicity, gender, income, sexual orientation, neighborhood or other social condition. In practice, this means that we are primarily focused on improving health conditions for those most marginalized in society, such as low-income or uninsured individuals, people of color, and undocumented persons.
This updated name and mission reflect the growth of the work we have been doing over the past several years. We have long since moved beyond an exclusive focus on access to treatment for addiction. In recent years, we have focused on supporting individuals with lived experience to tell their own stories and to advocate for policy change on their own terms, and to support harm reduction initiatives such as overdose prevention, naloxone access, and safe drug consumption spaces. We intend to continue this work while analyzing all of our grant making through a health equity lens to ensure that our funding achieves the greatest impact for those most in need.