Eliminating Health Disparities (EHDI) podcast transcript – Feb. 4, 2010
Edie French, MDH Communications Office (EF)
José González, MDH Office of Minority and Multicultural Health (JG)
EF: Welcome to this podcast on the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative Community Grants Program from the Minnesota Department of Health.
I’m Edie French from the MDH Communications Office.
Although Minnesota has long been noted as one of the healthiest states in the nation, our populations of color and American Indians tend to experience worse health in several areas. Overall, these populations experience shorter life spans, higher rates of infant mortality, higher incidences of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and poorer general health. In some cases these disparities are the highest in the nation.
Through the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative, otherwise known as EHDI, Minnesota is taking action.
Here to talk with us about EHDI, and the current grant program is Jose Gonzalez, director of the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health for the health department. Welcome Jose.
EF: What is the EHDI Grants program?
JG: The Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI) grant program was created by the 2001 Minnesota Legislature. It was a 10-year funding cycle that the Legislature allocated. It is a competitive grant program originally mandated to provide funds to close the gap in the health disparities of African Americans/Africans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Hispanics/Latinos in Minnesota compared with whites in the following priority health areas:
- breast and cervical cancer screening ,
- heart disease and stroke,
- HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases,
- immunizations for adults and children,
- infant mortality,
- teen pregnancy prevention,
- and unintentional injury and violence
On February 1 we announced a new round of funding. posted on our Web site. For this round of funding the Legislature appropriated 3 million dollars in state funding and 2 million dollars in federal funds for this next grant cycle.
EF: With this grant program can we really expect to eliminate health disparities?
JG: Health disparities are a moving target and after this past nine years of funding, that’s one of our lessons learned. I think the original legislation also stated “as compared to Whites”, and we’re discovering that it’s not always good to compare it solely in that way. So that’s one of our lessons learned that we’re taking forward with us into the next round of grants.
We’re also looking at funding more planning and implementation grants that are focused on the Social Determinants of Health. A lot of people in public health and in human services also are starting to understand what that means. We’re starting to look at things like the impact of education, housing, and employment on the health of a population.
EF: So even though we in the Health Department are looking at the outcomes of health, the causes go far beyond health related issues?
JG: Absolutely, and that’s one of the problem areas that our health department has, and that’s basically that we try to get information on the health outcomes, what’s already happened. Whereas, if we start looking at the social determinants of health in a more comprehensive way, we can partner with organizations like the Department of Human Services to start addressing the upstream work of what are the root causes that bring us the health outcomes that we have.
EF: As you mentioned, The EHDI has been around for several years. What are the specifics of this grant cycle?
JG: We expect to award three types of grants in this 2010 version of EHDI:
- addressing the eight priority health area implementation grants,
- social determinants of health planning grants – who are the partners, what are the policy issues, and then with the possibility of implementation grants,
- and social determinants of health implementation grants for those partnerships who are already ready to move forward,
EF: Who can apply and how will the applications be reviewed?
JG: Eligible applicants for the EHDI grants program include, but are not limited to:
- faith-based organizations,
- social service organizations,
- community non-profit organizations,
- community health boards,
- tribal governments,
- and community clinics
They are all eligible. So talk to us – ask questions and chances are you will be eligible to apply.
Then the way they are going to be reviewed, is once we get proposals we’ll have people from the Health Department, from the community, from our State Councils – representatives from a diversity of populations, groups and sectors that are going to help us make good decisions here.
EF: How can listeners get more information about EHDI and the grant application process?
JG: The best thing to do is to visit our Web site
Here are some dates to be aware of:
Training February 22 application workshop training-REGISTRATION REQUIRED www.health.state.mn.us/registration/nocharge/
Letters Of Intent are due March 1
Applications due March 25 - NO LATER THAN 4:30 p.m.
EF: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
JG: Only that applicants need to be intentional. Do not use these funds to fund current programs or services. Don’t see if this will “fit” your current activities. Use these funds to create the infrastructure that will minimize health disparities and keep them low. This is an opportunity. Use it well.
EF: Thank you, Jose Gonzalez.