The purpose of this study was to 1) assess the nature and extent of the minority health infrastructure and capacity to address issues of health disparity, especially by race and ethnicity, in nine States, and 2) identify those factors that contribute to, or detract from, the establishment and sustained support for minority health entities at the State level. Site visits and in-depth interviews with key informants (including State legislators, health administrators, program directors, and community based organizations) were conducted in eight States and one territory. OMHs crosscutting and priority health issue areas were used as the basis for investigating the kinds of activities underway to address health disparities and to facilitate discussions regarding the factors that promote or hinder attention to such disparities. Findings showed that: 1) data on the health status of all racial and ethnic minorities are lacking; 2) membership in OMHs national Minority Health Network and participation in OMH conferences afford opportunities to learn about strategies to eliminate health disparities; 3) technical assistance on effective or promising strategies for eliminating health disparities would be beneficial; 4) minority health concerns often cross state boundaries and are regional in nature; 5) while primary responsibility for providing health care to members of Federally-recognized tribes rests with the Indian Health Service (IHS), with services administered by the tribes themselves, State health departments, nonprofit groups, and others also provide some health care to these and other AI/AN populations in their jurisdictions; and 6) the availability of resources devoted to addressing racial and ethnic health disparities is critical to the capacity to provide services for racial and ethnic minorities and to meeting the Healthy People 2010 goal of eliminating health disparities. Recommended strategies for addressing racial and ethnic health disparities at the State level included: launching an initiative to assist States in collecting, tracking, and disseminating health data by race/ethnicity; improving intra-and inter-organizational collaborations related to minority health; providing technical assistance to improve state health infrastructures related to policies, programs, and practices on health disparities; sponsoring a forum to ensure that efforts to provide health care to AI/AN populations is coordinated and complementary; and increasing funding for minority health initiatives at the state and local levels.
AGENCY SPONSOR:Office of Minority Health
FEDERAL CONTACT:Gerrie Maccannon, 301-443-5084
PERFORMER: Office of Minority Health, Rockville, MD