The mission of the Office of Minority Health (OMH) is to improve and protect the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will eliminate health disparities.
OMH was established in 1985 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It advises the Secretary and the Office of Public Health and Science on public health program activities affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.
Garth Graham, M.D., M.P.H., is Acting Director of the Office of Minority Health.
OMH advises the Department on health policy issues affecting health status and access to care among minority populations. It coordinates programs to help HHS implement minority initiatives, including the HHS Disparities Initiative, the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, the HHS Hispanic Agenda for Action, the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities, the Executive Order on Increasing Participation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Federal Programs, and the HHS Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative.
OMH works with HHS operating divisions and other Federal departments to improve collection and analysis of data on the health of racial and ethnic minority populations. It monitors efforts to achieve Healthy People 2010 goals for minority health.
GRANTS AND COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS
OMH organizes demonstration projects through joint agreements with operating divisions of the Department, funds grants for health projects conducted by minority community organizations and coalitions, and funds cooperative agreements with major national minority organizations.
OMH maintains minority health consultants in each of the 10 HHS Regional Offices, and helps build a network of consumers and professionals working on minority health issues. OMH works with established State offices of minority health, and provides technical assistance, as requested, to minority community groups who are working to establish similar entities within their states.
CAMPAIGNS AND CONFERENCES
During 2002, OMH pioneered Closing the Health Gap, a unique partnership with the ABC Radio Networks to stimulate awareness of health issues among African Americans by encouraging individuals and communities to organize events that would encourage more people to visit a doctor or other health care professional. The first Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day drew support from more than 400 community, faith-based, fraternal, and health organizations across the United States. Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day now takes place on the third Tuesday in September – this year, September 16, 2003.
OMH also sponsored the first National Leadership Summit on Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health, which drew 2,200 community representatives to Washington, D.C., in July 2002, for strategy and skills-building sessions.
OMH operates the OMH Resource Center (OMHRC), which serves as an information and referral service on minority health issues for professionals, community groups, consumers, and students. It assists OPHS and OMH is distributing scientifically valid and culturally competent health information, encourages public participation in HHS programs, and assists in conducting health campaigns. OMHRC maintains a minority health knowledge center and database; distributes publications; manage exhibits; publishes funding opportunities; maintains a list of volunteer resource experts available to the public; and conducts literature searches. OMHRC maintains OMH's web site, www.omhrc.gov.
The Resource Center also provides capacity building and specialized technical assistance services to smaller, underserved community-based organizations working on HIV/AIDS and to AIDS service organizations. Principal areas in which assistance is offered are: organizational infrastructure, cultural competency, community outreach, program design, communications, and training. Technical assistance is provided through a combination of regional skills-building workshops, on-site consultations, and telephone, mail, and e-mail consultations.
OMHRC operates a toll-free telephone service (800-444-6472), accessible throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands; and provides a TDD telephone (301-589-0951) for the hearing-impaired. Bilingual information specialists answer English and Spanish-language inquiries.
Established in 1987 under an administrative order, OMHRC has been authorized since 1990 by Section 1707 of the Public Health Service Act, as amended. Services of the Resource Center are provided without charge.