This announcement is made by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS or Department), Office of Minority Health (OMH) located within the Office of the Secretary, and working in a One-Department approach collaboratively with participating HHS agencies and programs (entities).
As part of a continuing HHS effort to improve the health and well being of racial and ethnic minorities, the Department announces availability of the State Partnership Grant Program to Improve Minority Health.
OMH is authorized to conduct this program under 42 U.S.C.
§300u-6, Section 1707 of the Public Health Service Act.
The mission of the OMH is to improve the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of policies and programs that will help eliminate health disparities.
OMH serves as the focal point in HHS for leadership, policy development and coordination, service demonstrations, information exchange, coalition and partne rship building, and related efforts to address the health needs of racial and ethnic minorities.
OMH activities support Healthy People 2020, a comprehensive set of disease prevention and health promotion objectives for the Nation to achieve over the second decade of the 21st century (www.healthypeople.gov).
An overarching goal of Healthy People is to achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups.
As part of a continuing HHS effort to improve the health and well being of racial and ethnic minorities, the Department announces availability of FY 2013 funding for the State Partnership Grant Program to Improve Minority Health, (hereafter referred to as the State Partnership Program).
The State Partnership Program seeks to address significant health disparities impacting minorities through the utilization of partnerships between the Office of Minority Health and state and territorial health departments.
In April 2011, HHS released the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (hereinafter, ?HHS Disparities Action Plan?).
The HHS Disparities Action Plan emphasizes approaches that are evidence-based and will achieve a large-scale impact.
The vision of the HHS Disparities Action Plan is:
?A nation free of disparities in health and health care.? It proposes a set of Secretarial priorities, programmatic strategies, and high-impact actions to achieve the Secretary?s strategic goals for the Department.
The HHS Disparities Action Plan is framed by the Department?s Strategic goals:
Transform health care; II.
Strengthen the nation?s health and human services infrastructure and workforce; III.
Advance the health, safety, and well-being of the American people; IV.
Advance scientific knowledge and innovation; and, V.
Increase the efficiency, transparency, and accountability of HHS programs.
As part of a continuing HHS effort to improve the health and well-being of racial and ethnic minorities, and in support of HHS strategic goals, OMH announces the anticipated availability of funds for the State Partnership Program.
This funding announcement is also made in support of the National Partnership for Action (NPA) to End Health Disparities initiative.
The mission of the NPA is to work with individuals and organizations across the country to create a Nation free of health disparities with quality health outcomes for all by achieving the following five objectives:
increasing awareness of health disparities; strengthening leadership at all levels for addressing health disparities; improving health and healthcare outcomes for racial, ethnic, and underserved populations; improving cultural and linguistic competency and diversity of the health-related workforce; and better coordinating and utilizing research and evaluation outcomes.
The NPA has a strong focus on bringing together partners from across different levels and sectors to address the social determinants of health and to affect policies, practices, and other changes that will ultimately end health disparities.
The challenge to improve minority health and eliminate health disparities relies on the commitment of state and territorial health departments to continuously improve health status and find innovative ways to tackle simple and complicated problems with limited resources.
It is noted that several states and territories recognized the need for a focal point within the their health department to address minority health issues prior to the initial funding of State Partnership Program grants in 2005 by the Office of Minority Health.
Funding by the Office of Minority Health provided a means for states and territories to continue their efforts to ascertain the effectiveness of interventions, including systems change, to address the priority health areas affecting racial and ethnic minorities led by the 44 state and territorial offices of minority health funded in 2010, and a means to dedicate personnel and other resources to address health disparities issues.
The complexity of he alth disparities among racial and ethnic minorities actions to communicate health issues and health emergencies to at-risk communities and vulnerable populations, and engaging in workforce diversity challenges, require the coordination of multiple layers of partnerships to achieve improvements and systems changes.
State offices of minority health (SOMHs), through the State Partnership Program, are dedicated to the use of partnerships to effectively and efficiently utilize limited resources and create systems change through the inclusion of all stakeholders.
Indications are that the nation will be more racially and ethnically diverse, and the population is aging, according to the U. S. Census Bureau projections.2 In anticipation of such demographic shifts, the SOMHs have been positioning themselves to be a link with racial and ethnic minority communities, develop partnerships in communities, and be the liaison to state health department.
By bringing together state health agencies, human services and the community to work collaboratively on advancing health disparities, health equity, increasing access to health care, linguistic and cultural competency, the SOMHs will demonstrate the value of leveraging partnerships to achieve a shared goal of reducing health disparities.
The SOMHs are in a unique position to advance health equity, improve health care quality, implement strategies to eliminate health disparities, advance outreach and educational activities, and leverage resources with other state agencies as well as, health care organizations, clinics, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, national organizations, academic institutions, small businesses, and philanthropic organizations.
The State Partnership Program intends to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of strategic partnerships in improving the health status of minority populations and eliminating health disparities by addressing data needs regarding health disparities; developing partnerships and systems to improve access to health care; and implementing targeted health issue interventions that promote science-based health promotion and disease prevention research, or advance strategic plans and policies, or support state-level health practices.
This program also seeks to demonstrate that strategic partnerships are invaluable to the implementation of strategies and interventions that focus on workforce diversity policies to expand recruitment of racial and ethnic minorities who enroll in health professions training during the period of the grant.