Frequently Asked Questions about the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative
On this page:
What is the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative?
What are health disparities?
What is the goal of this program/initiative?
Who is the target population?
What is the EHDI Advisory Committee?
How does this initiative benefit all Minnesotans?
The Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative, established in the 2001 Legislative session [MN Statute 145.928], allocates a total of $9.5 million in competitive grants per biennium to local programs and projects statewide. The grants are aimed at improving the health status of Minnesota's populations of color and American Indians. The grants are distributed through the Minnesota Department of Health's Office of Minority and Multicultural Health.
Although Minnesota has long been noted as one of the healthiest states in the nation, minority populations in Minnesota tend to experience much worse health in several areas. Overall, populations of color and American Indians experience shorter life spans, higher rates of infant mortality, higher incidences of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other diseases and conditions, and poorer general health. These disparities also affect Minnesota's newly arrived immigrants and refugees. In some cases, the disparities are the highest in the nation. This is a distinction that the state of Minnesota simply should not have. Populations of color and American Indians have pushed for increased attention to these issues.
The goal of the program is to reduce disparities in eight priority health areas:
- Infant mortality
- Breast and cervical cancer
- Cardiovascular disease
- HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections
- Violence and unintentional injuries
- Healthy youth development
The EHDI legislation focuses on African Americans/Africans, Latino/Hispanics, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and American Indians living in Minnesota.
The legislation establishes a partnership between the Commissioner of Health and key organizations to develop a plan to reduce health disparities in Minnesota, focusing on the eight priority health areas (PHAs). Nearly 30 people on the Eliminating Health Disparities Advisory Committee work with and advise the Commissioner. Members are representatives of culturally based community organizations, the Indian Affairs Council, the Council on Affairs of Chicano/Latino people, the Council of Black Minnesotans, the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans, community health boards and tribal governments.
Health is a powerful determinant of self-sufficiency, a goal that unites all communities and political viewpoints. Improved health, and the prevention of serious health problems, is good for the state's economy and its ability to bounce back in tough times. Healthy families and children, and a healthy work force, elevate the fortunes of the entire state. All Minnesotans should have the opportunity for good health. This makes both ethical and economic sense.
A healthy population is Minnesota's greatest resource
Even in tight budgetary times, the health of all Minnesotans is a crucial resource. If we neglect basic prevention measures today, we guarantee ourselves even greater health care costs tomorrow.
Prevention is the best investment
It has long been documented that money spent on prevention of sickness, chronic conditions and injuries is an investment in preventing or reducing more serious and expensive health crises later. Prevention affects other arenas as well:
- Healthy pregnancies reduce infant mortality and promote healthier infants.
- Healthy children learn better.
- Youth who are learning healthy attitudes and behaviors remain in school longer and can set better long-term goals for themselves.
- Healthy workers are more productive and take less medical leave.
- Healthy elders live longer and need fewer health resources.
With improved quality of life, people have energy and resources to create stronger families, and can be more involved with their communities.
For more information on the grants to eliminate health disparities or other health disparities issues, contact:
Office of Minority and Multicultural Health
Minnesota Department of Health
625 Robert St N, Suite 500C
P.O. Box 64975
St. Paul, MN 55164-0975