Maryland Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (MHHD) Initiatives
Education and Policy Advocacy
A key component to the work of MHHD is to educate the public regarding minority health and health disparities issues. The Office has published the second edition of Maryland Plan to Eliminate Minority Health Disparities: Plan of Action 2010-2014 (2010) in addition to the second edition of the Maryland Chartbook of Minority Health and Minority Health Disparities Data. MHHD serves as a clearinghouse of information on Minority Health Disparities, maintains a website www.dhmh.maryland.gov/mhhd, and manages an e-mail distribution list of over 3,500 individuals and groups.
Additionally the Office reviews and testifies in support of bills; reviews existing laws and regulations to ensure they facilitate adequate health care to minorities; and recommend changes.
The Minority Outreach and Technical Assistance Program (MOTA) has been a component of the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s Cigarette Restitution Fund Program (CRFP) since July 2000. The CRFP established MOTA to promote community-level involvement of minorities in the education and planning of cancer/tobacco health services. As of 2010, MOTA has expanded its mission to address all ethnic and racial health disparities. The expansion incorporates the successful strategies used by MOTA in addressing cancer and tobacco-related illnesses among minorities. MOTA provides grant funds to organizations throughout the state to work in partnership with the local health departments, attend local health-related coalition meetings, bring together other minority groups, and help empower local minority communities to act decisively and effectively to reduce minority health disparities. For more information on the MOTA program, click here.
MHHD hosts an annual statewide conference to provide an opportunity to share strategies, successes and barriers to addressing and reducing minority health disparities. To locate past conference presentations and materials, click here.
Since 2008, the Maryland Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities has offered cooperative grant agreements to local health departments to address minority health disparities in infant mortality and cardiovascular disease. The sites for these Disparity Reduction Demonstration Projects were determined by analyses of disparities data and community needs assessments. The Project funds local health departments to support infrastructure enhancement and capacity building efforts using community-based approaches, such as community health workers, coalition building, and outreach to address minority health disparities.. Currently, five demonstration projects are operating in Baltimore City (cardiovascular disease), Baltimore County (minority infant mortality and cardiovascular disease), Montgomery County (minority infant mortality, and Prince George’s County (minority infant mortality). For more information on these projects, please click here.
The MHHD Cultural Competency and Health Workforce Diversity Initiative aims to increase minorities in Maryland’s Health Workforce by forming partnerships with Maryland health professional schools; adapting national best practices; increasing awareness of the need for greater diversity in the health workforce; collecting baseline and annual data to monitor progress and reinforce best practices; and pursing funds to support enhanced recruitment and matriculation of minority students. Funding for this initiative is provided by a five-year grant from the federal Office of Minority Health as part of the State Partnership Grant Program. For more information on this initiative, click here.
DHMH Systems Change
This MHHD Initiative applies a systems change approach designed to bring a greater focus on reducing minority health disparities at DHMH by collaborating with various program offices including: HIV/AIDS Administration, the Emergency Preparedness and Response Administration, Environmental Public Health Tracking Program and the Medicaid Program. Funding for this initiative is provided by a five-year grant from the federal Office of Minority Health as part of the State Partnership Grant Program. For more information on this project, please click here.
The MHHD data initiative coordinates a Departmental effort to develop an optimal and standardized approach to racial and ethnic data collection, analysis, and reporting. Health disparities data are critical for identifying disparities, for understanding causes and planning interventions, and for tracking progress. The Office has published numerous state-specific data reports and chartbooks. These documents include data regarding disparities in disease frequency and death rates, in the prevalence of risk factors, and in access to health care. In addition, some information of the costs of disparities are presented. These documents can be accessed by clicking here.
The Maryland Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities is committed to promoting the health of women and men throughout all stages of life. The Office participates in activities that increase awareness of gender-based health issues and works cooperatively with other programs within DHMH to address these issues. For more information on Women’s Health, please click here. For more information on Men’s Health, please click here.