An Introduction to the Office of Minority Health
In 1986, the Office of Minority Health (OMH) was created as a subdivision of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. It arose as a result of the research conducted on minority health reported in the Secretary’s Task Force Report on Black and Minority Health (1985). This report sought to specifically analyze the health statuses of the country’s African Americans, Latinos, Asian Pacific Islanders and Native Americans. The OMH states that the report confirmed that “poor health outcomes for…[minorities] are apparent when comparing their health indicators against those of the rest of the U.S. population.”
Currently, OMH provides several different services, including the collection of health data vis-à-vis ethnic and racial categories, and strengthening the sharing of this data amongst nonprofit organizations, communities and health advocates. The OMH is also working to increase awareness of the major health problems that affect minority communities throughout the country; establish and strengthen coalition relationships and partnerships; develop programs that eliminate health disparities; encourage research aimed at improving health; and funding programs that inform health policy.
OMH’s website provides a rich archive of past and current research on different minority groups’ health statuses. For example, it provides a broad overview and profile of the health of Asian American/Pacific Islanders, and includes brief demographic descriptors, links to census surveys, the Census Bureau’s report on income, poverty and health insurance coverage in the United States and disease statistics amongst the API community. Additionally, the data and statistics section includes comprehensive health profiles for African Americans, Native Americans, Latino/a, the LBGT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) population and Pacific Islanders.
Services and Funding
The OMH provides several different resources and services to the greater community, which include capacity building and technical assistance to health care agencies and programs working on minority health issues. OMH also offers community outreach services to organizations, and includes networking opportunities and community mobilization efforts. The OMH’s website also includes links to government funding opportunities for researchers, students and nonprofit organizations.
OMH links the following publications/reports on their website (under “Publications”):
FYI, Minority Resources..Money and More: This link provides information on upcoming webinars, as well as information on funding opportunities, for different ethnic minority groups.
Health Professional Materials: The Health Professional Materials link provides relevant information to different ethnic groups, as well as information on common illnesses, such as diabetes and cancer.
Publications in Other Languages: OMH also makes its publications available in several different languages, including Burmese, Cambodian, Chamorro, Chinese, Chuukese, Gujarati, Hawaiian, Hindi, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Samoan, Tagalog, Thai, Tongan and Vietnamese.
Campaigns and Initiatives
OMH’s website provides information on past and current health initiatives and campaigns, including:
- A Healthy Baby Begins with You
- Preconception Peer Educators Program (PPE)
- Act against AIDS
- Commission on the Impact of Trauma and Violence on the Health of African American Men
- Health Information Technology Initiative
- Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative (MAI)
- National African HIV/AIDS Initiative (NAHI)
- National Hepatitis B Initiative for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
- Community Initiatives to Eliminate Stroke Program (CITIES)
- Eliminate Disparities in Clinical Trials (EDICT)
- Obesity Abatement in the African American Community
- White House Initiatives
- HHS Sickle Cell Disease Initiative
- HHS Promotores de Salud Initiative
- HHS Oral Health Initiative 2010
Additionally, the Office of Minority Health offers links to Federal Clearinghouses (which provide links to relevant resources and nonprofit organizations), information on OMH’s disparities efforts, an extensive section on cultural competency and information on employment opportunities.
Those interested in finding out more about OMH and their collective work should rely on their site, which acts as an informative and well organized archive of information of past and current work. In particular, for minorities whose health concerns may not be adequately addressed or recognized by health care policy in the U.S., the OMH provides resources that specifically address the health statuses and needs of different ethnic populations across the United States.