Messages from the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health

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March 2014

Advancing Health Equity
Minnesota is one of the healthiest states in the country. However, a statewide assessment has found that not all Minnesotans have the same chances to be healthy. Those with less money, and populations of color and American Indians, consistently have less opportunity for health and experience worse health outcomes.

The Minnesota Legislature in 2013 directed the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and its partners to complete a report about advancing health equity (AHE) in Minnesota.

Advancing Health Equity in Minnesota: Report to the Legislature (PDF: 2MB/130 pages)

The Advancing Health Equity in Minnesota: Report to the Legislature was submitted to the Minnesota Legislature on Friday, January 31, 2014. The report assesses Minnesota’s health disparities and recommends best practices, policies, processes, data strategies, and other steps that will promote health equity for all Minnesotans.

Learn more at Advancing Health Equity.

January 2014

ADVANCING HEALTH EQUITY

Minnesota is one of the healthiest states in the country. However, a statewide assessment has found that not all Minnesotans have the same chances to be healthy. Those with less money, and populations of color and American Indians, consistently have less opportunity for health and experience worse health outcomes.

The Minnesota Legislature in 2013 directed the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and its partners to complete a report about advancing health equity (AHE) in Minnesota.

MDH and stakeholders are in the final stages of completing a report to the Legislature about advancing health equity in Minnesota. As part of that process, there are some important upcoming dates and opportunities for input to be aware of before MDH submits the report February 1, 2014.

Please mark these dates in your calendar and share this information with anyone who is interested in health equity – particularly, the people who engaged with MDH during this process. It is MDH’s goal to collect additional comments on the draft report by January 24. These comments will be included in a companion document to the report.

January 9, Thursday
Post draft Advancing Health Equity report

January 15, Wednesday
Community Listening Session, 7 to 9 p.m., at the Minnesota Humanities Center (MHC), 987 Ivy Avenue East, St. Paul, 55106. 

January 22, Wednesday
A WebEx Community Listening Session, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. 

January 24, Friday
Deadline for formal written feedback that will be included in a companion document. Email written feedback to health.equity@state.mn.us by Friday, January 24, 4:30 p.m. Title the email Advancing Health Equity REPORT FEEDBACK. 

To view the draft report, register for the Community Listening Session at MHC, register for the WebEx Listening Session, or get more details, visit Advancing Health Equity.

November 2013

Trusted community organizations will perform outreach, education, and assist in enrollment through MNsure

MNsure logoMNsure has selected 30 community organizations to provide outreach, education and enrollment assistance. Among the 30 community organizations are five OMMH EHDI grantees.  MNsure sought community organizations and coalitions that demonstrate successful and innovative methods of providing outreach and educational services throughout Minnesota. These organizations will also provide assistance with applying for health insurance through MNsure.

The grants will support a broad base of partnerships that will engage Minnesotans statewide to promote application and enrollment in affordable, quality health insurance through MNsure. MNsure sought to connect with new and existing organizations that have direct connections and experience with key audiences throughout Minnesota.

The five OMMH EHDI grantees include:

  • Centro, Inc. (Centro Cultural Chicano, Inc.)
  • Healthfinders Collaborative, Inc.
  • Hmong American Partnership
  • Northpoint Health & Wellness Center, Inc.
  • Planned Parenthood MN, ND, SD

MNsure is a one-stop health insurance marketplace where individuals, families and small businesses will be able to get quality health coverage at a fair price. MNsure will empower more than 1 million Minnesotans to compare, choose, and get help finding health care coverage. It will facilitate enrollment in public and private health insurance, determine eligibility for premium tax credits and allow Minnesotans to shop and compare between health care coverage options.

Open enrollment through MNsure began October 1, 2013 and runs through March 31, 2014. For more information about MNsure, how it will benefit Minnesota consumers and businesses, and how to provide input, visit MNsure.

Other named MNsure partners include:

  • AccountAbility Minnesota
  • Central MN Jobs and Training Services, Inc.
  • Communicating for America, Inc.
  • Community Resource Connections, Inc.
  • Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES)
  • Dakota County
  • Generations Health Care Initiatives
  • Health Access MN, Inc
  • International Institute of Minnesota
  • Lyon-Dugin Associates
  • Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge
  • Minnesota AIDS Project
  • Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
  • Minnesota Community Action Partnership
  • Minnesota Council of Churches
  • Portico Healthnet
  • ResourceWest, Inc.
  • Small Business Minnesota
  • Somali Health Solutions
  • Southside Community Health Services, Inc.
  • Springboard for the Arts
  • Western Community Action, Inc.
  • Women's Health Center of Duluth, P.A.
  • WomenVenture

 

October 2013

Comings and Goings at OMMH

Welcome Darwin Trujillo
Darwin Flores Trujillo is OMMH’s new Grants Specialist. He transferred to MDH from the MN Department of Veterans Affairs where he worked as an account clerk. Darwin’s accounting and finance experience includes working with private companies, banks, universities, and with Accountability Darwin TrujilloMinnesota, a nonprofit that offers free tax preparation and financial support services for small businesses. His experience with SWIFT, SEMA4, QuickBooks and other systems as well as his experience working with government policies and procedures will help OMMH and our grantees stay on track with invoicing and budgets! Darwin is a native Spanish speaker and speaks English fluently.

Please feel free to call and introduce yourself to Darwin and share a little of what you do as you get to know him. Darwin’s contact info is:
darwin.trujillo@state.mn.us
651-201-5820

Babette Jamison named Executive Director for Women’s Advocates
Babette Jamison leaves the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health (OMMH) to take a position as executive director of Women’s Advocates. Her last day at OMMH is October 25, 2013.

Babette has served as the African/African American Health Coordinator for OMMH since March 2011. Babette’s work contributed to strengthening existing programs and leading and developing innovative initiatives focused on reducing health disparities.

Women's Advocates is a safe place where battered women and their children can escape domestic violence. In addition to providing shelter, Women’s Advocates provides personalized support, advocacy, education, and resources for nearly 1,000 women and children every year. The first shelter in the nation for battered women, Women’s Advocates opened its doors in 1974. Women's Advocates welcomes women and children of all backgrounds and cultures.

October 2013

Laura Waterman Wittstock honored at Community Health Awards

The annual Community Health Awards recognize and acknowledge individuals or groups who make significant contributions to public health in Minnesota. Recognition of these accomplishments by elected officials and local and state public health staff is a long standing and honorable tradition of the annual Community Health Conference.

Community Health AwardsLaura Waterman Wittstock; Author, Host, and Producer, First Person Radio (KFAI-FM, Minneapolis) received the Lou Fuller Award for Distinguished Service in Eliminating Health Disparities for leadership and advocacy on behalf of the region's American Indian community. Waterman Wittstock speaks to a wide and diverse audience, from youth who read her children's books, to readers of her newspaper columns, to listeners of her weekly radio show, "First Person Radio." She was instrumental in founding MIGIZI Communications and Aurora Charter School, and also served on the OMMH Advisory Committee as Chairperson.

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Edward Ehlinger presented the awards at the annual Community Health Conference in Brainerd on September 26, 2013. He praised the award winners for their dedication and effectiveness.

"Public health is a crucial but sometimes underappreciated field of work," Commissioner Ehlinger said. "We know healthy people and healthy communities are a cornerstone of our state's quality of life, and we thank you for your hard work to protect, maintain and improve the health of all Minnesotans."

News release: MDH announces winners of 2013 Community Health Awards

August 2013

Rosemarie Rodriguez Hager –MDH Transition

Rosemarie Rodriguez Hager is leaving the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health (OMMH) to take a position as a State Innovation Model (SIM) Project Manager in the MDH Division of Health Policy. Her last day at OMMH will be August 30, 2013. 

Rosemarie has been with OMMH since 1998. From 1998 to 2002 she was project coordinator for the African American Teen Pregnancy Prevention Project. In that role she worked collaboratively with many community agencies in the Twin Cities metro area to coordinate community events and create public awareness around the issue of African American teen pregnancy prevention, and subsequently has served as a grant manager for the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI). She has provided leadership in Emergency Health Communications for the Department, producing national conferences related to health disparities, and has been instrumental in creating training events for community residents, who learned to advocate for themselves and their communities at the Legislature. Rosemarie came to the Office of Minority Health because of her commitment to improving the quality of life for populations of color in Minnesota.

In her new role she will provide project management for the implementation of a multi-agency, $45 million statewide health reform grant initiative referred to as the Minnesota Accountable Health Model.

Feel free to congratulate Rosemarie in her new role. She can still be reached at rosemarie.rodriguez-hager@state.mn.us.

July 2013

Peta Wakan Tipi/Dream of Wild Health among Top 15 Minnesota Agencies Providing Access to Healthy Foods

Dream of Wild Health youth at farmers marketOne in 10 Minnesotans don’t know where there next meal is coming from, and even more struggle with access to healthy food. EHDI grantee Peta Wakan Tipi/Dream of Wild Health was cited as one of the Top 15 agencies in Minnesota doing the most to give people access to healthful foods in the state.

Dream of Wild Health healthy food at pow-wowNearly 100 Minnesota health and human service nonprofit leaders were surveyed by Philanthropedia on behalf of Philanthropy Partners, a network of funders including the St. Paul Foundation, which commissioned the study to help combat hunger in Minnesota. StarTribune covered the story: Philanthropy MN: Top 15 hunger fighters named

June 2013

Lou Fuller Award for Distinguished Service in Eliminating Health Disparities: Nomination Deadline Friday, July, 26, 2013

The annual Community Health Awards recognize and acknowledge individuals or groups who make significant contributions to public health in Minnesota. Recognition of these accomplishments by elected officials and local and state public health staff is a long standing tradition of the annual Community Health Conference. Awardees are selected by the Nominating and Awards Workgroup of the State Community Health Services Advisory Committee (SCHSAC). Awards are presented by the Commissioner of Health at the annual conference during an awards ceremony.

Dr. Wilhelmina HolderThe Lou Fuller Award for Distinguished Service in Eliminating Health Disparities was created in 2012 to honor the work and memory of Minnesota Department of Health employee Lou Fuller.

Lou Fuller was known as a collaborative community activist who was instrumental in developing the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health, and who was a leader in bringing populations of color and American Indians as community voice to the state legislature to raise awareness about the severity of health disparities in Minnesota and create the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI). Lou's collaborative efforts focused on improving health status for populations of color and American Indians and thereby strengthening the health of Minnesotans as a whole population.
For more information and to nominate, visit: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/cfh/ophp/system/awards/nominate.html.

 

May 2013

2013 Community Health Conference
Call for Proposals: Deadline May 16, 2013

The SCHSAC Community Health Conference Planning Workgroup is currently seeking concurrent session proposals for the 2013 Community Health Conference – Working Together: Attaining Health Equity in Minnesota Communities. This year’s conference will be held September 25-27 at Cragun’s Conference Center in Brainerd.

Minnesota’s overall health ranking from the United Health Foundation has slipped from the healthiest state to fifth. Working together, we can do better. We must look beneath the averages to reveal the complexity and health challenges faced by populations and communities in our state. While the health of many of us is generally very good, this does not, unfortunately, hold true for everyone.

Currently, all Minnesotans do not have an equal opportunity to be healthy. This can be seen in each area of public health responsibility. What trends do we need to address to make Minnesota the healthiest state again? Our health has been impacted by five key things: increasing diversity distributed unevenly throughout the state; persistent health disparities; decreasing investment in public health; decreasing investment in education, an important predictor of health; and a lack of understanding about what creates health.

EHDI Grantees and other community experts have valuable information and lessons learned to share about your work in our communities. State agencies, local public health, funders, consultants, are hungry to hear your stories. The Community Health Conference is an incredible opportunity for you to do this. Please read the Call for Proposals and consider how you might share your stories with the rest of Minnesota. Do it alone, in partnership with co-grantees working in the same priority health area, or in partnership with local public health or other entities.

February 2013

SMHC and Ecuador join to help Twin Cities Ecuadorians

The country of Ecuador has joined forces with St. Mary’s Health Clinics (SMHC) to help address the health needs of Ecuadorian foreign nationals living and working in Minnesota, particularly in the Twin Cities. The agreement was signed at the Ecuadorian Consulate in Minneapolis, on February 14.

SMHC will set up a health resource center within the Minneapolis-based Ecuadorian Consulate. There, Ecuadorian citizens will receive health education, health screenings and, if required, referrals for available programs or free health care through SMHC. The center is expected to open in March.

“This is the first agreement of this kind in the United States,” says Silvia Ontaneda, Consul General of Ecuador. “With the goal of improving the physical and mental health of Ecuadorian citizens, our hope is that this will become a model that will help us meet the needs of our citizens wherever they are.”

Prior to the signing, Consul General Ontaneda commented on the sense of hope current discussions of immigration reform in the United States are having on the Ecuadorian community. “Too often, people from my county will not seek care when their health is in danger. They would choose death rather than go for emergency care that might lead to deportation, incarceration or excessive financial burdens.”

Because Ecuador is strongly Catholic country, Consul General Ontaneda believes SMHC’s Catholic roots and a trust in the ministries founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, will make the service more easily approachable by Ecuadorians. She estimates that there are almost 40,000 people from Ecuador residing in the Twin Cities area.

“We recognize that there are many people in the Twin Cities area unfamiliar with available health care options or who are not and will not be covered by the Affordable Care Act,” comments Barbara Dickie, SMHC executive director. “Using our extensive volunteer clinic network, SMHC can help reduce emergency room and other uncovered health care costs by providing services and education to people before issues become dire and/or exorbitantly costly.”

SMHC has provided necessary and accessible health series to the medically uninsured and underserved since 1992.

SMHC is currently a grantee of the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI) of OMMH. For more information about SMHC programs contact Barbara Dickie, Executive Director, SMHC, 651-231-5340 or bdickie@stmarysclinics.org.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in Minnesota

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) was held in Minnesota on Feb. 7 to call attention to the devastating toll HIV/AIDS has had on Black communities across the country.

Nearly half of the total AIDS cases reported and almost half of the persons living with HIV in the U.S. are Black, even though they represent just 14 percent of the U.S population, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reports that 2,480 cases or about one out of three persons living with HIV in the state are Black.

"In Minnesota, our African-American and African-born communities face the most severe burden of HIV infection rates compared to other population groups," said Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota Commissioner of Health. "Yet, these communities tend to have the fewest opportunities to access prevention programs and HIV testing. We need to ensure that these services are available and as culturally accessible as possible."

See the full news release:
Feb. 7 marks National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in Minnesota

January 2013

Mis Dos Centavos
By José L. González, Director OMMH

Subd. 13 of the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI, MN Statute 145.928) requires the commissioner to “submit a biennial report to the legislature on the local community projects, tribal government, and community health board prevention activities funded under this section. These reports must include information on grant recipients, activities that were conducted using grant funds, evaluation data, and outcome measures, if available.”

Thanks to our EHDI grantees, the evaluation technical assistance provided by Rainbow Research, Inc. staff and their bicultural consultants, and MDH’s own community, health, policy, and communication staff, the 2013 EHDI Legislative Report Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative - Report to the Minnesota Legislature 2013 (PDF: 1MB/64 pages) most definitely has many outcome measures that demonstrate the impact of EHDI-funded activities.

A very wise colleague in MDH’s Center for Health Statistics is quick to point out that while the EHDI is a program that does not enjoy comprehensive state-wide implementation we continue to use statewide measures to evaluate its impact. This is true. However, today we have developed many more evidence-based practices that demonstrate effectiveness in populations of color and American Indians than when the EHDI was first established in 2001. With EHDI support and the content expertise of MDH staff, our communities combine evidence-based practices with culturally-responsive interventions that work best in our Minnesota communities and offer us valuable lessons learned on “practice-based evidence.” The 2013 EHDI Legislative Report tells many stories using both qualitative and quantitative data of what does or does not work in our communities as we work to eliminate health disparities in our populations of color and American Indians despite not being a statewide-based program.

This should not be a report that sits on a shelf. This report provides opportunities to learn about what might work in your health areas or communities. It is a report that informs you of potential partners to share resources and expertise in your health areas or communities. The report raises awareness. Your collaborative work using this report raises hope.

November 2012

Mis Dos Centavos
By José L. González, Director OMMH

A Pueblo Blessing

Hold onto what is good,
Even if it is a handful of earth.

Hold onto what you believe,
Even if it is a tree that stands by itself.

Hold onto what you must do,
Even if it is a long way from here.

Hold onto life,
Even if it seems easier to let go.

Hold onto my hand,
Even if I have gone away from you.

This is the blessing offered in loving memory of my good friend and long-time mentor, Roger Ware Banks, who died on October 18, 2012.

We all smiled at his memorial service as we remembered Roger’s familiar greeting of “How ya doin’.” When Roger and I met, his familiar greeting was always preceded by, “Mi buen amigo, how ya doin?” I commiserated with so many Minnesota leaders who would no longer benefit from Roger’s invaluable lessons on the history of any current challenge. The history lessons were his quietly strong reminder that progress has been made and continues to be made thanks to those before us. This was usually followed by a discussion of the “knuckleheads” who both forget history and lose sight of the prize.

I will miss you, Mr. Banks, very much, and I will hold onto your hand, mi buen amigo.

October 2012

Dr. Wilhelmina Holder receives the first Lou Fuller Award at 2012 Community Health Conference

Dr. Wilhelmina Holder receiving Lou Fuller awardThe annual Community Health Awards recognize and acknowledge individuals or groups who make significant contributions to public health in Minnesota. Recognition of these accomplishments by elected officials and local and state public health staff is a long standing and honorable tradition of the annual Community Health Conference. Awardees are selected by the Nominating and Awards Workgroup of the State Community Health Services Advisory Committee (SCHSAC). Awards are presented by the Commissioner of Health at the annual conference during an awards ceremony.

This year a new award category was certified to honor the spirit and public health contributions of former OMMH Director, Lou Fuller.
The 2012 Lou Fuller Award for Distinguished Service in Eliminating Health Disparities was presented to Dr. Wilhelmina Holder, executive director of the Women's Initiative for Self-Empowerment (WISE). Ms. Holder is a founding member of the African and American Friendship Association for Cooperation and Development, which aims to improve cultural and linguistically-appropriate health care services by integrating foreign-trained health professionals in the U.S. workforce. Out of this organization was born the University of Minnesota's Preparation for Residence Program, which trains foreign-born physicians in U.S. medical care and eventually prepares them for licensure.

"I am consistently impressed by the passion and dedication of Minnesota's public health professionals, elected officials and volunteers who work to promote health in Minnesota. No matter what challenges they face, they always put the health of Minnesotans first," Ehlinger said.

For more information: Community Health Awards

August 2012

The 9th Annual Church Olympics Track and Field Event

Church olympics signThe Stairstep Foundation celebrated their 9th Annual Church Olympics Track and Field Event at North Minneapolis High School Track this summer.  The event provided congregational members with family and friends of African American churches throughout the Metropolitan area the opportunity to exercise, socialize and learn more about their health. 

Church olympics sack raceHealthy activities were enjoyed by all ages including Egg and Spoon races, Double Dutch and 50,100, and 400 Meter races. These friendly competitions throughout the day kept participants engaged and enthusiastic. OMMH sponsored the “Q”mmunity Mobile Unit partnering with the Minnesota Black Nurses Association to provide blood pressure Church olympics truckscreenings and UCare to provide bottled water, fresh fruit, reusable bags and sweat bands for attendees. In addition, the Southside Community Health Services Outreach Team provided important educational materials and support with organizations including, Twin Cities Healthy Start and the Susan G. Komen for The Cure. Special appearances at the Church Olympics included the President of the State Baptist Convention Reverend Jerry McAffee, State Representative Bobby Joe Champion and State Senators Jeff Hayden and Linda Higgins. 

It was a unique opportunity to unite local churches and the community through collaboration to advocate for a healthier community. 

Report and photos contributed by
Angie Gerlach
Community Outreach/Patient Advocate Intern
Southside Community Health Services

July 2012

From the Director
José L. González

40 Organizations to continue the work of the EHDI
On February 27, the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health released the third Request for Proposals (RFP) since 2001 to address the goals of the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI) focused on the eight priority health areas of the EHDI: infant mortality; child/adult immunization; diabetes; heart disease and stroke; breast and cervical cancer screening: HIV/AIDS/STIs; teen pregnancy; and unintentional injury and violence.  Eighty-eight organizations submitted proposals in response to this RFP.  OMMH is deeply grateful to the diverse cadre of community, government, foundation, nonprofit representatives, and MDH and local public health staff who volunteered to review the proposals and make difficult recommendations.

It is my pleasure to announce the 2012-2013 Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative grantees:

African American AIDS Task Force
American Indian Family Center
Annex Teen Clinic
Aqui Para Ti – Hennepin Healthcare System
Axis Medical Center
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Twin Cities
CAPI USA
Centro
Community University Health Care Center
Crown Medical Center
Division of Indian Work – Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches
Health Finders Collaborative
High School for Recording Arts
Hmong American Partnership
The Indian Health Board of Minneapolis
Indigenous Peoples Task Force
Korean Service Center
Lao Family Community of Minnesota
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
Lutheran Social Services
Minneapolis American Indian Center
Minnesota African Women’s Association
Minnesota Immunization Networking Initiative
Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center
Minnesota Visiting Nurses Association
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
The Neighborhood Hub
NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center
Open Cities Health Center
Peta Wakan Tipi
Pillsbury United Communities
Planned Parenthood – Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota
Sabathani Community Center
Saint Paul Area Council of Churches (SPACC)
Saint Paul Ramsey County Public Health
Stairstep Foundation
St. Mary’s Clinics
Turning Point, Inc.
WellShare International
YWCA of Minneapolis

The forty new grantee summaries will be posted soon on our EHDI web page as has been done previously. The descriptions will include a project description, proposed outcomes, populations to be served and proposed area to be served as well as grantee and OMMH contact information.

Join us in congratulating our new grantees and please feel free to contact them to partner in our efforts to eliminate health disparities in Minnesota’s populations of color and American Indians.

EHDI/TPP Community Grants Program 2012
MDH's Office of Minority and Multicultural Health and Division of Community and Family Health are soliciting proposals for teen pregnancy prevention efforts to close the disparities in teen pregnancy rates of African Americans/Africans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Latinos in Minnesota as compared with Whites.

Eligible applicants for the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI)/ Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Community Grant Program 2012 include but are not limited to: public or private non-profit 501(c)3 agencies, faith-based organizations, community health boards, tribal governments, or community clinics.

Current EHDI Grantees for July 2012 to June 2013 are not eligible to apply.

RFP

Request for Proposals: EHDI/TPP Community Grants Program 2012

Timeline

Application period begins

July 6, 2012

Applications due

Aug. 7, 2012

Notice to applicants

Aug. 31, 2012

Work begins

Oct. 1, 2012

Listed in the RFP is contact information for persons depending on your particular question.

We look forward to your proposals. 

June 2012

Mis Dos Centavos
By José L. González, Director OMMH

HONORING LOU FULLER
Lou Fuller was known as a collaborative community activist who was instrumental in developing the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health, and who was a leader in bringing populations of color and American Indians as community voice to the state legislature to raise awareness about the severity of health disparities in Minnesota and create the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI). Lou's collaborative efforts focused on improving health status for populations of color and American Indians and thereby strengthening the health of Minnesotans as a whole population. 

COMMUNITY HEALTH AWARDS NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR THE LOU FULLER AWARD
The Lou Fuller Award for Distinguished Service in Eliminating Health Disparities was created in 2012 to honor the work and memory of Minnesota Department of Health employee Lou Fuller.

The annual Community Health Awards recognize and acknowledge individuals or groups who make significant contributions to public health in Minnesota. Recognition of these accomplishments by elected officials and local and state public health staff is a long standing and honorable tradition of the annual Community Health Conference.

Recipients of the awards are nominated by their peers and reviewed by a selection committee. Awards are presented by the Commissioner of Health at the conference during an awards ceremony.

The Lou Fuller Award for Distinguished Service in Eliminating Health Disparities is given to an individual or organization who demonstrates an outstanding commitment to eliminating health disparities in populations of color and American Indians. Community organizations, elected officials, local CHS staff, tribal public health staff, volunteers, and state health staff are eligible for this award. Anyone can submit a nomination. Nominate a colleague for the Lou Fuller Award!

More about Lou http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/resolutions/ls82/0/HR0017.htm

Dorii GboloKudos to
Dorii Gbolo, CEO,
Open Cities Health Center 

Eliminating health disparities in our populations of color and American Indian communities living in Minnesota is a huge undertaking. Like any huge undertaking, it all begins with that first step and then we just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes, our journey takes a different path from the one we initially undertook. That definitely is NOT true of Dorii Gbolo who until recently was Chief Executive Officer for Open Cities Health Center, an EHDI Grantee in Saint Paul.

Ms Gbolo started her career managing a health clinic and boarding school at the Killingsworth Mission in Liberia, West Africa. She received her 4-year nursing degree from St. Catherine’s University and in 2008 received her Master’s in Transcultural Nursing from Augsburg College. 

Dorii joined the staff of Open Cities 16 years ago as clinic nurse manager and was promoted to director of clinic programs in 1998. She left in 2004 to serve as Women’s Health Grant Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Health but returned to Open Cities in 2005 to serve as Chief Operating Officer and in 2006 was named Chief Executive Officer.

During her entire career in health care spanning more than two decades, Dorii has provided excellent leadership, developing strong programs in outreach and education for pregnant women; diabetic outreach and education with emphasis on self-management; and mental health partnerships with community agencies that focus on substance abuse and depression.

Ms Gbolo took her first step to eliminate health disparities over 20 years ago and she has never forgotten why she chose this journey. Her strong devotion to eliminating health disparities is not only evident in the patients served at Open Cities but also throughout the surrounding neighborhoods as she also lives in the community Open Cities serves. Dorii was honored as a Health Care Hero in the field of community outreach by Twin Cities Business magazine in 2008 for being an outstanding contributor to the quality of health care in Minnesota. We speak often of evidence-based practices for programs. Dorii Gbolo has stayed true to the path she started on and provides an inspiring example of evidence-based practice in leadership for eliminating health disparities.

May 2012

Call for Presentations

2012 Community Health Conference- Strengthening Public Health: Linking Past Successes to Future Challenges

Concurrent session proposals due by 4:30 p.m., May 16
Minnesota has long been recognized as having a great public health system and is often the envy of other states, but we can’t rest on our laurels. In a changing environment, how do we retain our core public health functions, strive to achieve health equity, address current and future challenges, and continue to improve? Join us at the 2012 Community Health Conference to link past successes with revolutionary ideas, creative innovations, and new partnerships, in order to improve the health of all Minnesotans now and into the future. EHDI grantees, past and present, are in a unique position to share lessons learned and encouraged to apply.

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, consider submitting a proposal on your own, with your colleagues, or in partnership with others.

  • Do you have public health accomplishments to celebrate, lessons to share, or useful tools to pass along?
  • Would others in public health be able to improve their processes, policies, or results after learning from you?
  • Have you formed successful partnerships and have stories to inspire others?

Submit an Application

March 2012

Contribute to the Elimination of Health Disparities!

The Office of Minority and Multicultural Health is looking for qualified individuals to participate in the grant review process for the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (Request for Proposals: Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI) Community Grants Program 2012). This is an important initiative and your experience could be a valuable component of the process in serving populations of color and American Indians.

The 2011 Legislature appropriated approximately $3 million in state general funds and $2 million in federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funding for EHDI grants in fiscal year 2012, which begins July 1, 2012. These funds will be available for implementation grants in the following priority health areas: infant mortality, adult/child immunizations, breast and cervical cancer screening, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections, teen pregnancy, and violence and unintentional injuries, and for community primary prevention grants.

Each of the review teams will represent a cross-section of individuals with expertise in the eight priority health areas, populations to be served, and geographic distribution of the state.

Reviewers must be available for meetings on May 1 or May 2, 2012. Reviewer applications (PDF: 50KB/2 pages) must be received by April 4, 2012.

For more information about being a grant application reviewer, contact Babette Jamison at (651)201-5814 or via email at babette.jamison@state.mn.us.

February 2012

We are pleased to announce the Request for Proposals: Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI) Community Grants Program 2012

Timeline

Application period begins

February 27, 2012

Grant application workshop

March 2, 2012

Intent to Apply Form due

March 12, 2012

Applications due

April 12, 2012

Notice to applicants

May 22, 2012

Work begins

July 1, 2012

 

January 2012

Mis Dos Centavos
From the Director
José L. González

Health Reform – Health Reform – Health Reform

We all hear about it.

With all that we hear about it – what do we actually know about it and where can we go to get answers?  Try this link: Health Reform Minnesota

It has tons of information. For example – Have you ever heard discussions about Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)? These are health care organizations that will reward “hospitals and doctors will share in cost savings when people stay out of the clinic or emergency room, unlike the current fee-for-service model, which pays separate fees for every procedure and visit.”  Federal experts estimate savings of $1.1 billion over the next five years if there is widespread adoption of this model. Allina hospitals and Clinics, Fairview Health Services, and Park Nicollet Health Services are three Minnesota health care organizations taking part in a federal pilot program designed to improve the quality of health care for seniors by remaking the way physicians, hospitals and clinics get paid.

How about Health Insurance Exchanges? This is a tool that is intended to allow consumers and small business a simple way to find, compare, choose, and purchase health care coverage that best suits our needs. There are some sample modules currently available on a series of websites that allow us to see what an Exchange might look like and is open for public evaluation and feedback.

Of course, I strongly encourage us all to be strong advocates in guiding the process of our work in addressing health disparities during this era of health reform. Xiaoying Chen, Asian Pacific Islander Health Coordinator with our MDH Office of Minority and Multicultural Health, helped develop the background for much of the information contained on the Health Reform Minnesota's Health Disparities page.

Be at the table.  Be involved!

December 2011

EHDI grant to AAFACD succeeds in moving three foreign-trained health care providers closer to licensure!

African & American Friendship Association for Cooperation and Development (AAFACD) Inc. in partnership with Women's Initiative for Self-Empowerment (WISE), implements one of the first EHDI grants addressing social determinants of health to assist foreign trained health care professionals in obtaining licensure and further integrate and diversify Minnesota's healthcare workforce to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate health care services.

Currently, there are over 200 identified foreign trained healthcare professionals (FTHPs) in the AAFACD/WISE database.  The partnership provides outreach, advocacy and now collaboration with key decision makers at the University of Minnesota. This has led to the successful inclusion of EHDI-FTHPs into the second round of Preparation for Residency Program.

Preparation for Residency Program (PRP), first sponsored through State Legislative appropriation in early 2011, is a seven month externship program at the University of Minnesota Medical School. The program enables foreign trained physicians who have passed all the required U.S. Medical Licensure Exams (USMLE) to apply for residency. The first three physicians to benefit from the program successfully completed it in four months and were immediately accepted into residency.

Funding from OMMH enables AAFACD/ WISE partnership to leverage funding from State, federal agencies, and local foundations to increase the success of the participants in their program. The $200,000 three year implementation grant for Social Determinants of Health – has helped to provide FTHPs with increased knowledge, networking and visibility by means of community outreach, health literacy/education, advocacy and mentorship. The grant also empowers the FTHPs by providing financial resources in order to complete their exams in a shorter time period.

Three of the four selected physicians are EHDI beneficiaries and all are from communities of color: Dr. Adalberto Torres-Gorrin (from Cuba), Dr. Khem Kumar Adhikari (from Bhutan) and Dr. Mahamud Jimale, is a Somali refugee who came to the US over 10 years ago. The fourth is Dr. Said Tawil, an immigrant from Jordon. 

 

Town Hall Meeting - Community Benefit Collaboration Plan

On December 20, from 1-3:30 p.m., Commissioner Ed Ehlinger and the Executive Leadership Team from MDH are hosting a meeting to identify opportunities to advance efforts for collaboration between hospitals, health plans, state and local public health agencies, and the community.

In the 2011 legislative session, a rider was added to the Health and Human Services bill calling for broader collaboration between public health, hospitals and health plans. We share a common goal of improving the health of all Minnesotans. We have also felt the economic pinch on our resources to accomplish our goal.

This meeting will set the stage for responding to the 2011 state legislation that directed the Commissioner of Health to “develop a plan to implement evidence-based strategies from the statewide health improvement program as part of hospital community benefit programs and health maintenance organizations’ collaboration plans”. In addition to input from hospitals, health plans, public health, and tribal health agencies, the commissioner is interested in soliciting feedback from tobacco and EHDI grantees, and
community organizations dedicated to improving the public’s health.

The Town Hall meeting will be held at the Minnesota Department of Health, Snelling Office Park Building, Mississippi Room, 1645 Energy Park Drive in St. Paul. Additional information about Community Benefit and the agenda for this meeting will be posted on the Community Benefit - Collaboration Plan Town Hall Meeting web page. If you are unable to attend the December 20 meeting, your feedback is invited by completing a Community Benefit survey that will be posted at this same website after December 20.

Questions can be directed to: Patricia.Adams@state.mn.us or 651-201-5809.

September 2011

Mis Dos Centavos
A note from José González, Director OMMH

Honoring Sharon T. Smith
Tribal Health Coordinator


 Sharon Smith, an Ojibwe enrolled member of the White Earth reservation came to the Department of Health from the University of Minnesota where she worked in the field of health for 13 years. Five of those years were at the Center of American Indian and Minority Health where she worked with many of the tribes in Minnesota in several programs designed to prepare American Indians to enter health careers. She has a BA in Human Services Administration and has completed Master's coursework in counseling and psychology education. Sharon has served as the Tribal Health Liaison in the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health for the Minnesota Department of Health for the past eight years.

As Sharon retires from her years of service at MDH we all have an opportunity to reflect on the difference that one person can make.

Colleagues use three words to describe Sharon and her career in health:
Dignity, Professionalism, Advocacy
She is an advocate for Tribal and Urban Indian people, tirelessly trying to make systems work for Indian people. Her commitment has been unceasing.

One example of her work is the American Indian Infant Mortality Review Project
Starting in 2006 she was instrumental in completing an internal review, then case review, and then on the community action team that helped to identify solutions and make systems changes.

She presented the findings at the CDC Maternal & Child Health Epidemiology conference in 2008, which helped gain national attention for the project, and strengthen a position of advocacy in saving babies lives. The project goes beyond data, and without blame looks for system factors that can be addressed to provide a better outcome. In March 2010, a conference  to present the findings of the  review was hosted by Leech Lake and coordinated by Eileen Grundstrom. As Master of Ceremonies and more, Sharon played a pivotal role.

Another example of Sharon’s leadership is assuring Tribal participation in the Nurse Family Partnership Initiative which is a national evidence based home visiting program that demonstrated healthy outcomes and cost savings in other populations but never in Indian Country. Sharon saw an opportunity and was part of the committee that convinced program founder David Olds (despite his mantra of “fidelity to the model”) to allow Minnesota to adapt elements of the program to be culturally responsive to Native implementation and now the program is successfully being implemented in White Earth and Fond du Lac.

Other highlights and contributions include:

  • Oversight of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grants and development of a program to research effective native curricula around MCH to bring to the tribes.
  • Administration of MDH Tribal grants through OMMH
  • Coordination of seven tribes for the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP)
  • Conducted Emergency Preparedness training for tribes
  • Raised the issue of substance abuse in Native populations to Public health emergency status
  • Initiated and Coordinated Quarterly DHS/MDH tribal health director’s meetings
  • Development of a statewide video conference for MDH and LPH employees called Understanding Tribal Sovereignty and How it Affects the Work that You Do

Throughout her career Sharon has provided advocacy, visibility, and healthy solutions for Indian people and the Tribes. Her presence and energy will be missed, but the legacy of her efforts continue.

Understanding ‘sovereignty’ is difficult for many of us. Sharon knows that understanding sovereignty is the easy part. Sovereignty also must be ‘felt.’  I cannot say that I completely understand the relational, legal, governmental aspects of sovereignty. But thanks to Sharon, I am beginning to feel why sovereignty is so important to our tribal Nations. This is Sharon’s gift to me.  Miigwech.”

 

June 2011

Babette JamisonA note from OMMH African/African American Health Coordinator Babette Jamison
Thoughts on Destiny

“No one has written your destiny for you.  Your destiny is in your hands…No excuses.” stated President Barack Obama in his 2009 speech at the NAACP’s centennial celebration.

In my years of working in human services, I am grateful to have witnessed resilient souls of so many African Americans. Those individuals, regardless of their current socio-economic status, have beat odds that would normally destroy one’s spirit. So to me, President Obama’s quote means even in the midst of insurmountable circumstances, we all have the ability to achieve our aspirations.

An aspiration of mine is to contribute to reducing and ultimately eliminating health disparities and inequalities among African Americans.  African Americans have disproportionately experienced some of the highest incidences of major health conditions (e.g. cancer, HIV/AIDS, infant mortality, diabetes). Fortunately, many of these health conditions can be reduced with continuing efforts to promote healthy lifestyle changes such as: 

  • Increased physical activity
  • Reducing overweight and obesity
  • Eliminating tobacco use
  • Eliminating substance abuse
  • Engaging in responsible sexual behavior
  • Reducing injury and violence
  • Seeking access to health care

Yes, it is the responsibility of society as a whole to increase opportunities for health equity. It is just as important for the African American community to recognize the importance of upholding the posterity of the community by increasing the quality of future generations. So in the words of noted author Alice Walker, “Every small positive change we make in ourselves, repays us with confidence in the future.”

April 2011

Ed EhlingerA note from the Commissioner
Edward P. Ehlinger, MD, MSPH

Reflections on a Community Meeting

The gymnasium was cold but the emotions were not as I sat with some of my MDH colleagues at a Somali Educational Forum on Measles and Autism at the Brian Coyle Community Center in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis on a Saturday evening.  Prompted by the recent outbreak of measles, the Forum was organized by members of the Somali community to address the need for measles vaccination and to reaffirm that there is no link between MMR vaccination and autism, a fear that is prevalent in the Somali community.  In the audience were about 50 members of the Somali community, some media, several anti-vaccine groups, and people from a host of health-related organizations including MDH, the Minneapolis and St. Paul/Ramsey health departments, and the University of Minnesota.

The first part of the agenda was a panel of experts consisting of MDH staff, members of the Somali Health Coalition, two Somali physicians, and a pediatrician from Children’s Hospital presenting objective information and sharing their experiences with measles and autism.  Each presenter did an excellent job of respectfully and effectively laying out the facts and stressing the importance of immunizations and the lack of evidence linking MMR and autism. 

These presentations were followed by the personal story of a Somali parent of an autistic child; a story about a transition from being an anti-vaccine advocate to a pro-vaccine advocate.  As she talked, it became evident that not everyone from the Somali community in the audience had made a similar transition or shared her perspective.  Although not all the feedback from the audience was translated, it was obvious that there were marked differences of opinion.  This was later verified during the question and answer period when it also became evident that anecdotes and personal stories can easily overwhelm research and scientific data.

My reason for being at the Forum was to provide some closing remarks.  As I listened to the Somali parent talk and reflected on what the expert panel had said, I began to wonder about what I could add to the conversation that hadn’t already been said.  It was then that Sheikh Abdirizak Sanani, Imam of Rawdah Islamic Center began to speak.  Through an interpreter he laid out the beliefs of Islam related to health.  From what he said, it was evident that those beliefs are totally consistent with the basic principles of public health.  In short, these beliefs are that “individuals should be guided by truth and intelligence to save lives and to enhance the lives and productivity of all humanity especially through prevention.”  The Imam went on to say that prevention is considered “a holy and sacred activity.”  (translation verified)

Following the Q and A period, I based my closing remarks on the remarkable statement of the Imam.  I added just one additional element – the importance of the involvement of the overall community in those prevention activities.  I noted that the importance and power of community advocacy was manifested by the presence a large number of people from the public health and medical fields who were paying attention to this issue of major concern to the community.  I ended by committing MDH to continue to work with the Somali community and our public health and medical care partners to try to determine the best path for getting the answers to the myriad of questions about autism that exist in the Somali community. 

As I reflected on the evening during my drive home, I realized for the first time the symbolic connection between the event and its venue, the Brian Coyle Community Center.  I worked with Brian Coyle when he served on the Minneapolis City Council.  I was at the Minneapolis Health Department during that time.  Council Member Coyle was an unapologetic community activist and a tireless advocate for affordable housing, transportation, economic development, the environment, human rights, and health.  If he was still alive, Brian would have loved this meeting and he would have also fully endorsed the Imam’s statement that “individuals should be guided by truth and intelligence to save lives and to enhance the lives and productivity of all humanity especially through prevention – a holy and sacred activity.”

I could almost see Brian smiling and silently encouraging the Somalis in this neighborhood to keep up their sacred work of bringing health and healing to their community. 

March 2011

Photo of Jose GonzalezMDH welcomes Babette Jamison as new African/African American Health Coordinator in OMMH

I am pleased to announce that Babette Jamison has been appointed to serve as the African/African American Health Coordinator for the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health (OMMH) at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). In this position, Babette will provide leadership, consultation and cultural expertise on health disparities affecting African/African Americans and other populations of color and American Indians living in Minnesota.

Babette comes to MDH from Model Cities of St. Paul where she has been director of programs and services for the past five years. Prior to her work with Model Cities, she was a grant consultant for Summit-University Teen Center. Babette has earned two masters degrees from Jacksonville State University in marketing and public administration.

We were looking for a community leader who had a depth of experience with the health issues and challenges facing Africans and African Americans today, someone with grant management expertise and strong advocacy skills. We found these qualifications and more in Babette Jamison.

Babette began her work with OMMH on March 2, 2011. She will be working with a team of people, including our Asian Health Coordinator, Latino Health Coordinator and American Indian Health Coordinator.

As a member of the OMMH team, Babette will contribute to the department’s mission to protect, maintain and improve the health of all Minnesotans, and she will help us achieve our department-wide goal of eliminating health disparities and achieving health equity.

OMMH provides leadership within MDH and with community-based, tribal, governmental, and local public health partners to identify, develop, and support strategies to reduce health disparities affecting populations of color and American Indians.

February 2011

Nearly 1 of every 16 African-American men will be diagnosed with HIV infection some time in their lives, as will 1 in 30 African-American women, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Almost half of the one million Americans currently living with HIV are African-American.

"In Minnesota, our African-American and African-born communities face some of the highest HIV infection rates compared to other population groups," said Peter Carr, manager of the STD and HIV Section, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Minnesota's African-American and African-born populations continued to have higher rates of infection compared to whites in 2009. Statewide rates for African-Americans were about 11 times greater than whites (50.1 cases versus 4.4 cases per 100,000 population) and rates for African-born communities were 19 to 26 times greater than whites (82 – 116.5 cases versus 4.4 cases per 100,000 population). Through 2009, there are 2,261
African-American and African-born persons living with HIV in the state.

"African-Americans and African-born communities face a number of obstacles that contribute to the higher HIV infection rates," said Carr. "Some of the obstacles include unknown HIV status, cultural stigma, and socioeconomic factors such as lower income levels that can lead to limited access to quality health care and HIV prevention education and testing."

With the national theme of, "It takes a village to fight HIV/AIDS," national and local organizers hope to unite African-American and African-born communities for a call to action to get tested, get educated, get treated and get involved within their communities and neighborhoods to halt the spread of this disease.

"Knowing your HIV status, prevention education, avoiding or delaying sexual activity, decreasing the number of sexual partners and safer sex practices remain the most effective means of stopping the spread," said Carr. "HIV infection is preventable and as part of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day free HIV educational and testing opportunities will be offered to help people learn how to stay safe."

The STD and HIV Section at MDH currently funds 31 community-based programs aimed at preventing the spread of HIV in adults and young people of all races who are at risk of acquiring HIV.

The MDH NBHAAD website provides information and a calendar of local activities.

The MDH HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report-2009 report, which includes data specific for the African-American and African-born communities, can be found on the MDH website.

Information about HIV is available from the Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP) AIDSLine, 612-373-2437 (Twin Cities Metro), 1-800-248-2437 (Statewide), 1-888-820-2437 (Statewide TTY), or by e-mail at: mapaidsline@mnaidsproject.org. MAP AIDSLine offers statewide information and referral services, including prevention education, HIV risk assessments, HIV testing and referrals to HIV testing sites.

Free downloadable campaign materials specific for African-American communities are available at: http://www.greaterthan.org. For more information about the NBHAAD 2011 observance, visit http://www.blackaidsday.org/ or call 1-404-454-5469.

Governor's Proclamation
In a proclamation marking this year's observance, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton calls for all Minnesotans to strongly support NBHAAD and to get involved with initiatives to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in the African-American and African-born communities. To see a copy of the proclamation, visit the MDH NBHAAD website

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to be observed Feb. 7
Free HIV testing and public awareness events scheduled in Minnesota

Nearly 1 of every 16 African-American men will be diagnosed with HIV infection some time in their lives, as will 1 in 30 African-American women, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Almost half of the one million Americans currently living with HIV are African-American.

On Feb. 7, African American leaders and organizations within the Twin Cities area will come together in unity to officially observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) and call attention to the HIV/AIDS crisis that is affecting and infecting so many African Americans.

To commemorate NBHAAD, Turning Point, Inc., Fremont Clinic, Minneapolis Urban League, The City, Inc., and the Minnesota Department of Health will host an event, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday, Feb.7, at the Minneapolis Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411. The event will include expert speakers, panelists, youth performers, exhibitors, confidential HIV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea testing and more. A catered lunch will be provided. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Woodrow Jefferson, Turning Point, 612-520-9197, or by e-mail at: woodrow.jefferson@ourturningpoint.org.

"In Minnesota, our African-American and African-born communities face some of the highest HIV infection rates compared to other population groups," said Peter Carr, manager of the STD and HIV Section, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Minnesota's African-American and African-born populations continued to have higher rates of infection compared to whites in 2009. Statewide rates for African-Americans were about 11 times greater than whites (50.1 cases versus 4.4 cases per 100,000 population) and rates for African-born communities were 19 to 26 times greater than whites (82 – 116.5 cases versus 4.4 cases per 100,000 population). Through 2009, there are 2,261
African-American and African-born persons living with HIV in the state.

"African-Americans and African-born communities face a number of obstacles that contribute to the higher HIV infection rates," said Carr. "Some of the obstacles include unknown HIV status, cultural stigma, and socioeconomic factors such as lower income levels that can lead to limited access to quality health care and HIV prevention education and testing."

With the national theme of, "It takes a village to fight HIV/AIDS," national and local organizers hope to unite African-American and African-born communities for a call to action to get tested, get educated, get treated and get involved within their communities and neighborhoods to halt the spread of this disease.

"Knowing your HIV status, prevention education, avoiding or delaying sexual activity, decreasing the number of sexual partners and safer sex practices remain the most effective means of stopping the spread," said Carr. "HIV infection is preventable and as part of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day free HIV educational and testing opportunities will be offered to help people learn how to stay safe."

The STD and HIV Section at MDH currently funds 31 community-based programs aimed at preventing the spread of HIV in adults and young people of all races who are at risk of acquiring HIV.
The MDH website provides information and a calendar of local activities for NBHAAD at National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

The MDH HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report-2009 report, which includes data specific for the African-American and African-born communities, can be found on the MDH website.

Information about HIV is available from the Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP) AIDSLine, 612-373-2437 (Twin Cities Metro), 1-800-248-2437 (Statewide), 1-888-820-2437 (Statewide TTY), or by e-mail at: mapaidsline@mnaidsproject.org. MAP AIDSLine offers statewide information and referral services, including prevention education, HIV risk assessments, HIV testing and referrals to HIV testing sites.

Free downloadable campaign materials specific for African-American communities are available at: http://www.greaterthan.org. For more information about the NBHAAD 2011 observance, visit http://www.blackaidsday.org/ or call 1-404-454-5469.

Governor's Proclamation
In a proclamation marking this year's observance, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton calls for all Minnesotans to strongly support NBHAAD and to get involved with initiatives to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in the African-American and African-born communities. To see a copy of the proclamation, visit the MDH website at: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
* * * * * * *
Community Events – Free and Open to the Public
Free Confidential HIV Testing, Health Checks, Blood Pressure Screening, and Body Mass Index (BMI) Determination Event
9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Thursday, February 7 – 10, 2011, at Crown Medical Clinic, 1925 1st Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55403. Event sponsored by Crown Medical Clinic. Walk-ins welcome but appointments preferred by calling 612-871-4354.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Event
10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Monday, February 7, 2011 at Minneapolis Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411. Event sponsored by Turning Point, Inc., Minneapolis Urban League, The City, Inc., and the Minnesota Department of Health. A catered lunch will be served.

November 2010

 Anin

In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, I would like to share this information courtesy of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior

About Native American Heritage Month

What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.

One of the very proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the "First Americans" and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kans., formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call upon the country to observe such a day. Coolidge issued a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.

The year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On December 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed.
The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September. In Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it continues to be a day we observe without any recognition as a national legal holiday.

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 "National American Indian Heritage Month." Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including "Native American Heritage Month" and "National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month") have been issued each year since 1994.

Respectfully submitted,
Sharon Smith
Tribal Health Liaison

 

Photo of Jose GonzalezOctober 2010

Mis Dos Centavos
Jose Gonzalez, Director OMMH

October 15 is Latino AIDS Awareness Day in Minnesota
HIV testing opportunities planned for October

El 15 de octubre es el Día Latino de Concientización sobre el Sida en Minnesota

Minnesota will join the eighth annual observance of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD) on October 15 to raise awareness of the increasing HIV infection rates among Latinos across the nation.

Since 1982, 643 Latino men, women and children have been diagnosed with HIV infection in Minnesota, including 138 that have died. Currently, there are 521 Latinos living with HIV in the state, including those who moved to Minnesota after they were diagnosed in other states. Statewide, HIV infection rates for Latinos were five times greater than whites. In 2009, 996 Latinos were also infected with other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

This year’s national theme, “Save a life. It may be your own,” speaks to the critical role and importance of prevention education and early HIV testing in saving lives.

“Knowing your HIV status is a critical first step in reducing the spread of HIV,” said Peter Carr, STD and AIDS Director for MDH. “The earlier you test, the more beneficial the treatment. Unfortunately, many of our Latino residents are testing at late stages of their HIV infection.”

Latinos have had the highest percentage of “late testers” for HIV infection compared to all other population groups (48 percent between the years 2000 and 2009) in Minnesota. Late testers are those that already have AIDS by the time they test, or will progress to AIDS within one year of the initial diagnosis with HIV (non-AIDS) infection. That means many Latinos are testing between 5 to 10 years after they have become infected – missing years of beneficial treatment and prevention education.

HIV infection remains highly preventable, although health officials emphasize that there still is no cure or vaccine to stop HIV/AIDS. Ways to prevent or reduce the spread of HIV include avoiding or delaying the start of sexual activity, decreasing the number of sexual partners, using latex condoms consistently and correctly, avoiding the sharing of needles or equipment to tattoo, body pierce or inject drugs, and knowing your HIV status.

Testing opportunities are available specifically for Latinos from bilingual staff and clinics that can address cultural issues and language barriers faced by Latinos seeking HIV testing.

The STD and HIV Section at MDH currently funds 22 programs through 16 agencies aimed at preventing the spread of HIV in adults and young people of all races who inject drugs and/or engage in sexual behaviors that transmit HIV. The programs serving Latinos with HIV prevention efforts include Neighborhood House and West Side Community Health Services in St. Paul and Centro Campesino in Owatonna.

For more information, including local testing opportunities and activities for NLAAD, please visit MDH's NLAAD website.

bamboo photoHealth for All AAPI Communities
by Xiaoying Chen, Asian American Health Coordinator

Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are one of the fastest growing populations in Minnesota. According to the 2006 Population Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, AAPI are reaching 210,000, a 25% increase since Census 2000. In addition, AAPI is the most diverse group among all populations of color. There are more than 50 ethnicities within AAPI communities nationally with more than 300 languages and dialects spoken. In Minnesota, more than 30 ethnicities are represented, all with different religious, cultural and spiritual beliefs. Based on 2000 Census, the largest ethnic groups among Asians living in Minnesota are Hmong, Vietnamese, Asian Indians, Chinese, Korean, Laotian, Filipino, and Cambodian. More recently we have welcomed  Karen and Bhutanese refugees. Our Hmong population is the second largest in the country.

As a key cultural belief, AAPI share the notion that family as a unit is more important than an individual and emphasis is laid on group successes rather than individual’s. Many adult immigrants, especially elders, still practice traditional methods of healing. By contrast, younger generations are more likely to turn to western medicine when they are ill.

As a member of the AAPI community in Minnesota, and as the Asian American Health Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Health, I have often struggled with the notion that AAPI are considered a “model group” by many. And yet, the data as well as first hand experience tells me that significant disparities exist within individual ethnic groups in the AAPI communities. For example:

  • We have 52% of all incidence cases of hepatitis B, the highest among all populations in Minnesota*.
  • Asian Americans of all ages are less up-to-date with immunizations than whites. Only 66% of Asian children were up to date with immunizations at 24 months as compared to 85% of whites**.
  • Teen pregnancy rates for Asians (15-19 years old) are nearly three times that of whites in Minnesota***
  • Many Asian refugees and immigrants suffer from untreated mental illness such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression.

Despite the many issues we face with very little resources, AAPI communities are well known for our cultural heritage of building a strong family and community. We know that if an individual is not well, the whole family is not well and if a family is not well; then our community is negatively impacted because we are all closely connected to one another.

During this economically challenged time, all AAPI members can be part of the solution. It is critical that we care more for one another and that we unite to push for policy and system changes that will lead to the elimination of health disparities in our communities. We can all raise awareness in our community about hepatitis B and related issues by talking with our family members and friends about HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted illnesses (STI) and urging them to get tested. We also need to educate one another about mental illnesses such as depression and PTSD and fight against the stigma that is attached.

Finally, we need to continue building bridges, forge partnerships and collaborate not only within AAPI communities but also with all Populations of Color and American Indians and mainstream organizations. Each of us can do our share and each of us can make a difference in our daily work, and in our community.

Find out more about AAPI health status on the OMMH site and these sites:

* MDH 2009 data
**MDH 2001 and 2006 data
***MDH, December 2009, Health Disparities by Racial/Ethnic Populations in MN

 

July 2010

29 Organizations to continue the work of EHDI

Since 2001 the state legislature  has appropriated approximately $4.4 million annually through the OMMH Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI) to address the health disparities between Populations of Color and American Indians (POC/AI) as compared to Whites in eight priority health areas. According to our most recent Report to the Legislature (2009) (PDF) the EHDI has made great strides towards its legislative mandate:

  • Infant mortality rates have declined for all POC/AI. Disparities in infant mortality rates range from 26.3 percent to 75 percent.
  • Disparities in gonorrheal incidence have decreased for American Indians (25.7 percent), African/African Americans (26.7 percent), and Latinos (32.5 percent); although gonorrheal incidence remains an issue, disparities for Asians have been eliminated.
  • Disparities in heart disease mortality rates have decreased for African/African Americans by 94.3 percent. While heart disease remains an issue for Asians and Latinos, no disparities exist.
  • Disparities in new HIV infections have decreased for American Indians by 51.8 percent.
  • Disparities in homicide mortality have decreased for racial/ethnic groups ranging from 6.8 percent for American Indians to 48.3 percent for African/African Americans.
  • Disparities in cervical cancer incidence have decreased for Asians (32.9 percent) and African/African Americans (54.2 percent).

This 2009 report also acknowledges that we have not yet met all goals set out under the legislative mandate. For example, while infant mortality disparities were substantially reduced for all POC/AI the goal of a 50 percent reduction was only met for Asians and Latinos. Together with staff from MDH Office of Health Statistics, we are evaluating our gains and lessons learned from these past nine years of EHDI grants. We know changes must and will be made as we move forward.

OMMH recently completed the first open and competitive grant process since those initial EHDI grants in 2001. We are profoundly grateful to the original grantees who have helped to develop effective strategies and pave the way for future work. We are also grateful to the diverse cadre of community, government, foundation, and non-profit representatives who volunteered to review 127 applications for the State Fiscal Year 2011 funding cycle, requests totaling almost $23 million! The result of this open selection process is 29 organizations that Health Commissioner Sanne Magnan approved to receive EHDI funds in SFY 2011. We are confident these  organizations will build on the foundations laid over the last nine years by our past grantees and advance our goal of eliminating health disparities.

In order to document and evaluate the effectiveness of grantee efforts to eliminate heath disparities, OMMH has contracted with Rainbow Research to provide technical assistance to our grantees on data collection and data analysis .

OMMH is also working with other MDH staff to complete a data inventory to identify what race- and ethnic-specific data MDH currently collects. It is our hope to partner with DHS and other state agencies and health providers to conduct a similar inventory. We believe this will further strengthen our capability to  analyze progress on eliminating health disparities in our state.

Eliminating health disparities is the prize. We must keep our eyes on the prize!

Staff photoMay 2010

Families: The Backbone of Culture, Strength and Health

Eileen Grundstrom, OMMH Training Coordinator for Minnesota Tribes

In Native tradition, families have always been the backbone of culture, strength and health. Unfortunately, the health of Native families and communities been significantly impacted over the last 500 years by the devastating erosion of their traditional ways of life, culture and belief systems. This is explained eloquently in the following excerpt from an article called Traditional Perspectives on Child and Family Health (PDF) by Don Warne MD, MPH. Dr. Warne is a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe from Pine Ridge, SD.,  who brings “wisdom to science and science to culture,” blending traditional knowledge with contemporary knowledge.

Historical Trauma

From a traditional perspective, the health of the community and the family determines the health of the individual. Unfortunately in modern times, American Indian communities suffer from significant health disparities as compared to the general population. Unhealthy communities produce unhealthy families, and our children suffer from high rates of preventable diseases as a result. For example, American Indians have shorter life expectancies than the general population and deaths caused by unintentional injuries, suicide and infant mortality are significantly higher than the general population.

Recent studies have identified numerous potential causes for health disparities, including genetics, access to health services, poverty, income distribution and discrimination. However, from a traditional perspective, much of the adversity our communities face is rooted in the loss of land, traditional culture and lifestyle. The primary reason our people are so afflicted with addiction, poverty, abuse and strife, is that our way of life was taken from us. Everything was taken. And nothing was replaced.

From a traditional perspective, the loss of ancestral homelands, culture, language, history of child abuse in boarding schools and other components of traditional life has led to a deeply rooted loss of identity as Native people. This sense of loss can be seen as a spiritually and emotionally based imbalance that has resulted in self-destructive behaviors including alcoholism, substance abuse, domestic violence and suicide. 

Perhaps the first and most important step toward reducing health disparities is to identify and strengthen local cultural belief systems. The traditional ways of tribes provides a culturally appropriate, holistic and meaningful way to promote community health.

Improving the Health of Families

Improving the health of Native families and communities will require a wide range of strategies. One strategy that is especially well-suited for Native families is Family Home Visiting.

Tribal communities have many successful home visiting models in place, but, despite some progress, (see the American Indian Infant Mortality Review Project, 2008 (PDF)) the continuing disparity of infant mortality in Native communities suggests the process may need to be refined. Recently tribal nurse directors submitted adaptations to the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) home visiting model to make it feasible to implement in tribal communities. NFP is a program that may further help to strengthen families by focusing on first-time moms. NFP allows nurses to deliver the support first-time moms need to provide their babies with the best possible start in life. 

The Power of Families

As we seek new ways to improve family home visiting and develop new strategies to eliminate disparities, we must never underestimate the power of families. This point is powerfully made by Joseph M. Marshall, III in his book, The Lakota Way:

“A cornerstone of Lakota culture can be summed up in the words family and kinship. Family is the backbone, the foundation of our culture. We are given substance, nurtured, and sustained by family. Kinship goes beyond family and is the connection we feel the world at large and everything in it.”

 

Rosemarie Rodriguez-HagerMarch 2010

Social Determinants of Health
Let’s Talk About It

Last month the American Journal of Public Health published an article titled Coverage and Framing of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in US Newspapers, 1996-2005. The article, which explores the role that communication plays in a healthy society, validates the lessons learned in the first phase of the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI):
 
In the United States, racial and ethnic health disparities persist despite overall improvements in population health. Studies suggest that social inequalities, not individual behaviors, are the main reason why racial and ethnic minorities get sicker and die sooner than the rest of the population. This ‘‘social determinants of health’’ perspective—which has gained  attention in recent years—asserts that the root causes of disparities in health are inequalities in social, economic, physical, and environmental conditions, because these directly influence health and indirectly constrain opportunities for healthy behaviors, access to health care, and even genetic predisposition for disease.”

The article, however, goes on to illuminate one of the fundamental barriers and solutions to success:

“The social determinants of health have been long documented and widely recognized by the World Health Organization and the governments of the United Kingdom and Canada, but similar efforts have not gained critical momentum in the United States. In fact, the American public is largely unaware of racial/ethnic health disparities and prioritizes medical care and personal behaviors as the strongest influences on health. However, public support for redistributive policies could increase if the social-determinants perspective were effectively communicated to the public.”

For those of us who live and breathe the discussion of health disparities, it is sometimes hard to imagine that not everyone is operating with the same knowledge base that we have. Clearly, it is time to communicate, and to have an even larger and more strategic community conversation around the issues. So, let’s talk about it – and not just amongst ourselves.

In context, here in Minnesota, we are moving toward the deadline for the next round of EHDI grants (March 25, 2010), in which social determinants of health are included as an opportunity for funding. Applicants can focus on these determinants to work collaboratively in addressing policy, system, and environmental change.

For more information, review the EHDI RFP or contact Rosemarie Rodriguez-Hager, 651-201-5819.

 February 2010

Aniin

Niswi Abinoojiinhyag Ji-bimaadiziwaad is Ojibwe for “saving three babies”.

Minnesota has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the United States. Yet, Minnesota’s American Indian babies die at a rate of two to three times higher than in our White population. This disparity in infant mortality rates has existed for more than 20 years - at least as long as infant mortality rates have been calculated by race and ethnicity by the MDH Center for Health Statistics. Although the total number of infant deaths has been reduced in Minnesota during the last two decades, the disparity in that number between our White and American Indian babies persists.

In 2005, the Commissioner of Health established the American Indian Infant Mortality Review Project in response to community and professional concerns. A report based on the findings of the project was issued in the Summer of 2008. In the report, the leading causes of infant death in our American Indian communities were identified as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and sleep-related unintentional injury. Two years after the team concluded its work, a sub-group of committed members from the team took on the challenge of addressing the findings and recommendations that surfaced. The goal of the team is to reduce infant mortality in our Native American Community to reach parity with the mainstream population. In further examination of the data, it was concluded that we only need to save three babies a year to reach that goal.

We will share the findings and recommendations from this report at the Leech Lake Tribal Health Infant Mortality Conference, “Niswi Abinoojiinhyag Ji-bimaadiziwaad,” for both the urban and tribal communities across Minnesota on March 17 and 18. The conference has been planned with multiple partners including White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, the Twin Cities Urban Indian community and the Minnesota Department of Health. The conference will also feature prominent national and local experts offering resources, curricula, and models to strengthen partnerships for implementing recommendations.

A special invitation is extended to local public health officials, hospital administrators and other health professionals along with the American Indian community to come together to ensure healthy babies and healthy American Indian communities.

Please join us.

Respectfully submitted,
Sharon Smith
Tribal Health Liaison

American Indian Infant Mortality Report 2008 (PDF 799KB/100 pages)

 

Photo of Jose GonzalezJanuary 2010

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”  This famous quote, by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is on the front cover of our 2009 Report to the Legislature on the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI). I can only guess that vestiges of the 1928 Tuskegee Syphilis Study along with many real and vivid examples of blacks not receiving equal medical treatment as compared to whites in the U.S. circa 1963 had some influence on Dr. King’s thinking. So how far have we come in addressing injustice in health care?

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2000 described study after study in which non-whites received inferior medical care as compared to whites even after controlling for socioeconomic status, insurance coverage, or access to care. The authors believed a common thread in the findings to be a “subtle form of racial bias on the part of medical providers.” An April 2001 letter to the editor in the New York Times from a physician in McKinney, Texas, cautioned against relegating workers, children, the poor, the disabled, and chronically ill, to the emergency room for care and the “terrible injustice” of medical decisions “based solely on financial considerations.” The EHDI was implemented in 2001 amidst these discussions.

A question I find myself pondering time and again is why “health disparities,” an outcome, and not “health care injustice,” an underlying cause, has been the focus of our work with the EHDI? I realize this question may be challenging, but I believe it is a fair question.

MDH Commissioner Dr. Sanne Magnan is asking her staff to focus our efforts on more “upstream” approaches to identify and effect systemic change that will truly eliminate health disparities over the long-term. Some of those changes involve social determinants and other underlying causes that also contribute to health disparities, such as lack of educational achievement and employment biases. Meeting that challenge will require partnerships on many levels.

It seems Dr. King understood this all too well.

Each January we celebrate Dr. King’s contribution to our humanity. My thanks to OMMH staff member Eileen Grundstrom for suggesting we read Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail as a way to honor him. 

In this letter to his fellow clergymen explaining his involvement in demonstrations in Birmingham, Dr. King writes, “I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes.” Dr. King valued challenging himself and others no matter the resulting tension.  He writes, “I am not afraid of the word ‘tension.’ I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.” Thank you, Dr. King, for reminding us of the need to continuously address the injustice in health care, no matter the resulting tension.

December 2009

Now entering my third month with MDH, I feel a bit more comfortable about introducing myself as the OMMH director.  In my initial weeks I felt humbled by the depth of knowledge of the MDH staff in general, and the OMMH staff in particular. To say I was a director amongst such an august community was intimidating. It is no less difficult now, but I’ve gained a passionate sense of responsibility to continue the legacy of Lou Fuller and past OMMH leaders and current staff. The richness of information after almost ten years of EHDI has laid an incredible foundation as we move forward. I do believe my background and expertise will strengthen this foundation.

I am an immigrant born in Durango, México. My family immigrated to Aurora, Ill., 30 miles west of Chicago. I remain bilingual and bicultural thanks to my parents and community. I came to Minnesota in 1975 to attend St. John’s University and eventually graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in social work. I have an extensive history of health and human service work experience, including county economic assistance and child protection programs, migrant farm worker support, child/adolescent in-patient psych units, public health clinics (school-based, family planning and prenatal care), and spoken-language interpreter programs. Prior to coming to OMMH I was a program officer with the Bush Foundation in Saint Paul. I’ve also served on numerous boards, including the Minneapolis Foundation, Tubman Family Alliance, Centro Inc., Minnesota Council on Foundations, and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees. I continue to serve on Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s National Advisory Committee for the Local Funding Partnership.

I believe the next phase of the EHDI will build on the gains that have been made over the last nine years. I further believe we must expand the focus of the EHDI to explore and address policies and systems that maintain health disparities and keep us from making sustainable change. One such systemic barrier appears to be the need to improve our data collection systems so we can accurately measure the impact of our efforts and make better decisions about how and where to make future investments in programs that eliminate health disparities and achieve health equity. Only then can we honestly say we are living up to the mission of the Minnesota Department of Health – “to protect, maintain, and improve the health of all Minnesotans.”

Message from Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Sanne Magnan

Eliminating health disparities has been an important priority for the Minnesota Department of Health for the past decade. It will continue to be a priority for our work internally within the department as well as for our work with community partners.

We have made progress in a number of areas. For example:

  • Infant mortality rates have declined for all population groups with decreases in disparities in infant mortality rates ranging from 26.3 percent to 75 percent for populations of color and American Indians.
  • Disparities in heart disease mortality rates have decreased for African Americans/Africans by 94.3 percent and while heart disease remains an issue for Asians and Hispanics, no disparities exist.
  • Disparities in new HIV infections have decreased for American Indians by 51.8 percent.
  • Disparities in homicide mortality have decreased for racial/ethnic groups ranging from 6.8 percent for American Indians to 48.3 percent for African Americans/Africans.
  • Disparities in cervical cancer incidence have decreased for Asians by 32.9 percent and African Americans/Africans by 54.2 percent.

But we know that significant disparities remain in multiple areas, and we must continue our efforts. During the 2009 legislative session, we sustained our investment in health reform, including the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), which will address tobacco and obesity, the leading preventable causes of illness and death. We also sustained the investment in implementing health care homes. Both of these initiatives are being held accountable in legislation to decrease health disparities.

We also requested, the Legislature awarded, and the governor signed into law an additional investment in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to be able to better measure disparities. In addition, we plan to continue a community grant program within the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative to address disparities.

In the coming months, we will continue to develop strategies that hold promise for narrowing the health gaps among populations of color and American Indians. With input from our Advisory Board and communities, we also plan to look further upstream to better understand and address the root causes of these disparities.

If you have any questions, please contact OMMH Director José L. González at 651-201-5818 or jose.gonzalez@state.mn.us.

Updated Tuesday, 11-Mar-2014 15:13:43 CDT