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MHHD : whatsnew

Whats New  

HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities 

The HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities outlines goals and actions HHS will take to reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities. With the HHS Disparities Action Plan, the Department commits to continuously assessing the impact of all policies and programs on racial and ethnic health disparities. It will promote integrated approaches, evidence-based programs and best practices to reduce these disparities. The HHS Action Plan builds on the strong foundation of the Affordable Care Act and is aligned with programs and initiatives such as Healthy People 2020, the First Lady's Let's Move initiative and the President's National HIV/AIDS Strategy.  

Download the Action Plan here.  

National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity   

The National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity provides a common set of goals and objectives for public and private sector initiatives and partnerships to help racial and ethnic minorities -- and other underserved groups -- reach their full health potential.  The strategy -- a product of the National Partnership for Action (NPA) -- incorporates ideas, suggestions and comments from thousands of individuals and organizations across the country. Local groups can use the National Stakeholder Strategy to identify which goals are most important for their communities and adopt the most effective strategies and action steps to help reach them.  

Access the Stakeholder Strategy here 

Healthy People 2020 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released Healthy People 2020, the nation’s new goals and objectives for health promotion and disease prevention.  Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. 

The Healthy People 2020 Website is  

Maryland’s Health Care Reform Coordinating Council 

Governor O’Malley created the Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council through an Executive Order to advise the administration on policies and procedures to implement the recent and future federal health reform as efficiently and effectively as possible. The Council will make policy recommendations and offer implementation strategies to keep Maryland among the leading states in expanding quality, affordable health care while reducing waste and controlling costs.

Information on the Coordinating Council and Health Reform activities in Maryland can be accessed at 

The Website, managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides information on the Affordable Care Act that was signed into law on March 23, 2010 by President Obama.   

Visit the Website at 

Keep the Beat – Agenda to Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Disparities in Baltimore City (April 2009) 

Published by the Baltimore City Health Department, this agenda provides strategies for reducing Cardiovascular Disease Disparities in Baltimore City.  These include 1) salt intake reduction, 2) smoking cessation, 3) disease management and support for high risk individuals provided by community health workers, 4) nutrition, physical activity and health education through faith institutions, and 5) high blood pressure screening in barbershops and referral to care.

The report can be downloaded at  

Evaluating Health Information on the Internet (March 2009) 

This Website and Fact Sheet published by the National Cancer Institute provides information to assist people in deciding whether the health information they find on the Internet or receive via e-mail is likely to be reliable. 

The Website and Fact Sheet can be located at   

Kaiser Webcast - The Effect of the Economic Downturn on the Health of Communities of Color  (March 25, 2009) 

This Webcast, hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, examined the economic downturn’s impact on healthcare in communities of color.  The panel focused on how the recession is affecting communities of color in the areas of health care coverage, access to care and health outcomes as well as housing and employment. 

To view the Webcast or the transcript, visit 

Blueprint for Latino Health in Montgomery County Maryland, 2008-2012 (February 2008) 

The Blueprint for Latino Health in Montgomery County Maryland is published to provide a basis for the development of responsive and sensitive medical care and public health systems that consciously and systematically address the basic needs of the Latino community. 

The Blueprint can be downloaded from 

NIH Summit: The Science of Eliminating Health Disparities (December 2008) 

The National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD), with the support of its NIH Institute/Center partners hosted the NIH Summit: The Science of Eliminating Health Disparities, December 16-18, 2008. The Summit explored how the integration of Science, Practice, and Policy furthered this research agenda. More than 4000 scientists, practitioners, and community members showcased the collective contribution of the NIH in the development of new knowledge in the science of eliminating health disparities.

Webcasts of selected sessions can be viewed at  

Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008: Addressing Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities   (November 2008) 

This issue brief, published by Families USA, addresses the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) that became law on July 15, 2008 and how it can address racial and ethnic health disparities.   

To view the Issue Brief, please visit  

Evaluating the Economic Causes and Consequences of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (November 2008) 

This issue brief, published by the American Public Health Association (APHA) and authored by Dr. Kristen Suthers, examines the economic costs of racial and ethnic health disparities at the individual and societal level.

The publication can be downloaded from the APHA Website at  

The National Health Plan Collaborative Toolkit (September 2008)

The National Health Plan Collaborative has created this toolkit of resources, lessons, best practices and case studies to help other health plans join the effort to reduce disparities. The toolkit shares what the Collaborative's members have done to develop and test new methods of measuring and addressing racial and ethnic disparities so that other health care decision-makers and leaders can learn from this work, implement these best practices and make the case for addressing the unacceptable differences in health care and health outcomes for health plan members throughout the country. 

The toolkit can be viewed at  

New HealthCast – Race and Genetics: The Future of Personalized Medicine  (August 2008)

This Webcast event discusses the potential of race-based medical solutions for improving healthcare and reducing racial/ethnic health disparities. The webcast takes a closer look at efforts to study the interaction between race, genetics and health.

The Webcast can be viewed at  New HealthCast - Racial and Ethnic Disparities: States and Feds to the Rescue? (May 2008)

This Webcast event, sponsored by the Alliance for Health Reform and the Commonwealth Fund examines actions that state and federal policy makers can take to help reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health. 

The Webcast can be viewed at 

Today's Topics In Health Disparities - State Initiatives to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (May 2008)

This Kaiser Family Foundation webcast takes a closer look at current state-based efforts to improve access to care and outcomes for minority populations, including the work of states such as Massachusetts, Georgia and Ohio. The panelists also touch on how these initiatives fit into a state's larger health reform efforts, and the role of the federal government.

The Webcast can be viewed at 

Diabetes Prevention Curriculum for African Americans - Power to Prevent: A Family Lifestyle Approach to Diabetes Prevention  (September 2007) 

The National Diabetes Education Program, a joint initiative between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health — has developed a new curriculum, Power to Prevent: A Family Lifestyle Approach to Diabetes Prevention, to help African Americans learn how to apply the findings of the DPP study in their own communities. Power to Prevent focuses on how to prevent and control diabetes through physical activity and healthy eating.  To view the curriculum visit 

Health Literacy Opinion Paper - American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women (December 2007)

In the December 2007 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) present an opinion paper to outline the complex issues surrounding health literacy and offer strategies for increasing health literacy in clinical practice.  The ACOG supports health literacy guidelines that include:  tailoring speaking and listening skills to individual patients; tailor health information to the intended user; and develop written materials.  Click here for more information. 

Key Health Disparities-Focused Legislation Introduced in the 110th Congress (December 2007)

New compendium summarizes about a dozen federal legislative initiatives introduced in the 110th Congress to address racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care.  Although the 110th Congress's session is half complete, the number of bills introduced that include some attention to “health disparities” is about the same as introduced in the entire 109th Congress. While a number of bills introduced this year may have an impact on health disparities and/or affect minority health, the goal of this document is to highlight legislation that specifically addresses racial and ethnic health disparities. Bills that did not focus on disparities were not included in this document.  To view the full document, visit:  

HRET Disparities Toolkit (2007)

The Toolkit is a Web-based tool that provides hospitals, health systems, clinics, and health plans information and resources for systematically collecting race, ethnicity, and primary language data from patients. Because of the importance of collecting good data on patient race, ethnicity, and primary language data, HRET and the American Hospital Association have decided to allow access to the Toolkit for free without purchase. For more information, visit: 

CDC in Spanish (October 2007)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) re-launched its "CDC en Español" Web site to improve usability and offer more health-related resources for the nation's Spanish-speaking population. The new site, modeled on the CDC's English-language Web site, includes a more powerful search engine, easy access to resources addressing 20 popular topics, a user-friendly alphabetical index and other features.

Visit the website at  

Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?

Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? crisscrosses the country investigating the notion that there is more to our health than bad habits, health care or unlucky genes—that the social conditions in which we are born, live and work profoundly affect our well-being and our longevity. Conceived as part of an ambitious public impact campaign, Unnatural Causes aims to help reframe our nation's debate over health and explore what we as a society can—and should—do to reduce our devastating socio-economic and racial health disparities. Produced by California Newsreel with Vital Pictures, Inc. and presented by the National Minority Consortia of public television, Unnatural Causes is scheduled for a Fall 2007 DVD release and a Spring 2008 national PBS broadcast.

To learn more and join our Impact Campaign, visit 

Maryland Cancer Survey, 2006 (September 2007)

The Maryland Cancer Survey, 2006 provides information on cancer screening rates, knowledge of cancer and cancer screening, and lifestyle factors related to cancer screening among Maryland residents age 40 years and older. In addition to overall cancer screening prevalence, the survey reports the percentage of respondents up-to-date with certain screening tests.The report can be downloaded from 

We're the Ones We've Been Waiting For: The State of AIDS in Black American...And What We're Doing About It (September 2007)

The report looks at the state of AIDS among blacks in the U.S. It features statistics on the HIV/AIDS epidemic among blacks; information about CDC testing reforms; and the status of HIV/AIDS, treatment, prevention and mobilization efforts.  The report can be downloaded from   

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Access to and Quality of Health Care  (September 2007) 

This report takes a critical look at the research evidence on racial and ethnic disparities in health care. The synthesis assesses whether racial and ethnic disparities in access remain after adjusting for factors such as insurance and socioeconomic status and also sheds light on the contributions of these factors to the observed disparities. The synthesis focuses on two key dimensions of health care; access and quality; and on the three racial and ethnic groups for which a body of research has accumulated - non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics.  The report can be located at   

Maryland Governor’s Grants Conference - The Changing Face of Grants(September 14, 2007)  

This document provides the agenda for the Grants Conference that took place on September 14, 2007 at the University of Maryland University College Conference Center.The agenda contains hyperlinks that allow for access to each presentation. The agenda and presentations can be located at 

Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs – Annual Report 2006 (Summer 2007)

Created by Executive Order in 1971, the mission of the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs is “to advise government, advance solutions, and serve as a resource to ensure equal access to the economic, educational, health, political and social well-being of Hispanics.” Please visit the following link to access the Report - 

Health Care Language Services Implementation Guide(2007)

The Health Care Language Services Implementation Guide, sponsored by the Office of Minority Health (OMH) is a Web-based interactive tool that can assist healthcare organizations in planning, implementing, and evaluating language access services to better serve their limited English proficiency patient population and decrease disparities in access to healthcare. To access the Guide, please visit 

Hospitals, Language, and Culture:  A Discussion of the Joint Commission’s Survey of Culturally Competent Practices (June 29, 2007)

The Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital continues to host free interactive web-based seminars on current issues pertaining to racial and ethnic disparities.  This three year, cross-sectional qualitative study, funded by the California Endowment explores how 60 hospitals across the country have adapted their systems to provide health care to culturally and linguistically diverse patient populations. Dr. Paul Schyve and Ms. Amy Wilson-Stronks will discuss the report findings on the challenges these hospitals face and how they address them.  The web seminar will be moderated by Dr. Alexander Green.  For more information, please visit   

OMH to Help Nurses Provide Culturally Competent Care (April 6, 2007)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health has a new accredited continuing education program for nursing professionals. This web-based training course is title, Culturally Competent Nursing Care: A Cornerstone of Caring and is provided at no cost. It is designed to help nurses integrate cultural competency awareness, knowledge, and skills to more effectively treat increasingly diverse patient populations. The course is accredited for up to nine hours through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The training course is available at  To view the full press release visit 

Discrimination linked to health problems among Asian-Americans (June 5, 2007)

The website HealthDay reported on a study that will appear in the July issue of the American Journal of Public Health in which Dr. Gilbert Gee and colleagues present findings on the exploration of a link between discrimination and health problems among Asian-Americans.  Survey responses on health status and discrimination perceptions from approximately 2,100 Asian-Americans were analyzed. Most participants were of Chinese, Filipino, or Vietnamese descent. It was found that Filipinos reported the highest level of discrimination, followed by Chinese-Americans and those of Vietnamese descent. Everyday discrimination was found to be associated with a variety of health problems, including chronic cardiovascular, respiratory, and pain-related trouble. Discrimination against those of Chinese descent was not linked to either pain or respiratory problems, but was associated with heard disease. In contrast, discrimination against those of Vietnamese descent was linked to cardiovascular illness, respiratory disease, and pain issues. Filipinos appeared subject to respiratory and pain difficulties. Please visit the following link for additional information To view Maryland data on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders click here.   

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Announces $500-Million Commitment to Reverse Childhood Obesity in U.S. (April 4, 2007) 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced it will commit at least $500 million over the next five years to tackle one of the most urgent public health threats facing our nation: childhood obesity. This is the largest commitment by any foundation to this issue. The Foundation's goal is to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States by 2015. The Foundation will focus on improving access to affordable healthy foods and opportunities for safe physical activity in schools and communities. It will place special emphasis on reaching children at greatest risk for obesity and related health problems: African-American, Latino, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander children living in low-income communities.  For more information, please visit HealthCast “Bridging the Divide: Medicare's Role in Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities”  (January 2007) 

This HealthCast, sponsored by the Alliance for Health Reform and the National Academy of Social Insurance, examines a growing body of evidence indicating disparities in quality of care among Medicare beneficiaries of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Panelists also discuss whether and how the Medicare program should use its clout as a health care payer and player to move toward eliminating racial and ethnic disparities.  

Hospitals, Language and Culture:  A Snapshot of the Nation (2007) 

Hospitals, Language, and Culture:  A Snapshot of the Nation is a three year cross-sectional qualitative study funded by The California Endowment designed to explore how 60 hospitals across the country provide health care to culturally and linguistically diverse patient populations. 

The DiversityData project identifies metropolitan area indicators of diversity, opportunity, quality of life and health for various racial and ethnic population groups. allows visitors to explore how metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. perform on a diverse range of social measures that comprise a well-rounded life experience.  

Free Web Seminar Series on Race and Ethnicity Data Collection

Two web seminar presentations are available, free of charge, hosted by the Disparities Solutions Center of the Massachusetts General Hospital.  The titles of the web seminars are:

“Getting Started: Building a Foundation to Address Disparities through Data Collection” and “Getting it Right: Navigating the Complexities of Collecting Race/Ethnicity Data.” HealthCast “Interview with Dr. David Satcher”

David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D. is the Poussaint-Satcher-Cosby Professor of Mental Health at the Morehouse School of Medicine. He is a former U.S. Surgeon General and is a Trustee of the Kaiser Family Foundation.  

Dr. Satcher contributed an article about ethnic disparities in health and strategies for overcoming those disparities in the October 24, 2006 edition of PLoS Medicine.   

Click here to access the full text article titled “Ethnic Disparities in Health: The Public's Role in Working for Equality”. 

Racial and Ethnic Disparities - Keeping Current Call Series

The Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital continues to host free interactive web-based seminars on current issues pertaining to racial and ethnic disparities. Speakers during these calls will provide key, current information on disparities, and discussants will add perspective and context. A question and answer session open to all call participants will follow each presentation. Registration is limited, so sign-up today.  

New Partnership to Tackle Health Disparities among Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders  

The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

(APIAHF) will partner with the Kellogg Foundation to reduce health disparities for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) populations. Over the next five years, this project will work toward strengthening community capacity and capitalizing on local assets to meet the health needs of vulnerable AAPI families.  There will also be a focus on increasing the visibility of AAPI health issues in the national policy arena, supporting and building a network to advance the AAPI health agenda; and identifying strategies to produce more and better data on AAPI populations.    


Statement from the National Cancer Institute on FDA Approval of the HPV Vaccine

Summary: On June 8, 2006 the National Cancer Institute posted a press release announcing the approval by the Food and Drug Administration of the vaccine GardasilTM, which protects against infection from the two types of human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the cause of the majority of cervical cancers worldwide.

Changing Healthcare Professionals’ Behaviors to Eliminate Disparities in Healthcare: What Do We Know? How Might We Proceed?

Author: Ronnie D. Horner, PhD; William Salazar, MD; H. Jack Geiger, MD, MPH, DSc; Kim Bullock, MD; Giselle Corbie-Smith, MD; Martha Cornog, MA, MS; and Glenn Flores, MD; for the Working Group on Changing Health Care Professionals’ Behavior

Source: The American Journal of Managed Care, September 2004

Summary: This paper presents findings from a working group asked to identify ways to improve healthcare providers’ cultural competency. The group was formed by the Office of Minority Health, Department of Health and Human Services. The panel identified interventions most likely to improve the cross-cultural competency of healthcare providers. For each intervention identified, methods for implementation were specified. On-going evaluations of processes of care using race/ethnicity data were recommended to ensure the programs were functioning.  

Distributive Justice in American Healthcare: Institutions, Power, and the Equitable Care of Patients

Author: Robert W. Putsch, MD; and Linda Pololi, MD

Source: The American Journal of Managed Care, September 2004

Summary: The authors argue that the American healthcare system has developed in a fashion that permits and may support ongoing, widespread inequities based on poverty, race, gender, and ethnicity. Institutional structures also contribute to this problem. Analysis is based on (1) discussions of a group of experts convened by the Office of Minority Health, US Department of Health and Human Services at a conference to address healthcare disparities; and (2) review of documentation and scientific literature focused on health, health-related news, language, healthcare financing, and the law.

Healthcare Disparities and Models for Change


Author: Claudia R. Baquet, MD, MPH; Olivia Carter-Pokras, PhD; and Barbara Bengen-Seltzer, MA, MBA

Source: American Journal of Managed Care, September 2004

Summary: Working models that have successfully reduced health disparities in managed care settings were presented at the National Managed Health Care Congress Inaugural Forum on Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care on March 10-11, 2003, in Washington, DC. These models are being used by federal, state, and municipal governments, as well as private, commercial, and Medicaid MCOs.

The Role of Culturally Competent Communication in Reducing Ethnic and Racial Healthcare Disparities

Author: Stephanie L. Taylor, PhD, MPH; and Nicole Lurie, MD, MSPH

Source: American Journal of Managed Care, September 2004

Summary: This commentary summarizes the importance of culturally competent communication across several levels of the healthcare system and details concrete steps that managed care organizations can take to maximize their ability to provide culturally competent communication and care.

Cultural Competency as It Intersects With Racial/Ethnic, Linguistic, and Class Disparities in Managed Healthcare Organizations

Author: Ruth Enid Zambrana, PhD; Christine Molnar, MS; Helen Baras Munoz, PhD; and Debbie Salas Lopez, MD

Source: American Journal of Managed Care, September 2004

Summary: This paper identifies strategies to reduce disparities in access to healthcare that call for partnerships across government agencies and between federal and state governments, provider institutions, and community organizations. Lessons learned from successful precedents must drive the development of new programs in Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) to reduce disparities. Collection of population-based data and analyses by race, ethnicity, education level, and patient's primary language are critical steps for MCOs to better understand their patients' healthcare status and improve their care.


Good Provider, Good Patient: Changing Behaviors to Eliminate Disparities in Healthcare

Author: Heike Thiel de Bocanegra, PhD, MPH; and Francesca Gany, MD, MS

Source: American Journal of Managed Care, September 2004

Summary: The authors examined the relationship between cross-cultural provider-patient interactions and health outcomes through a literature review. Results were presented in the form of guiding principles to an expert panel of health care administrators, medical practitioners, and medical care providers. This expert panel met at the workshop "Changing Patient Behavior" during a conference convened by the office of Minority Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, February 17-18, 2000. The panel reviewed the themes and formulated suggestions for program and policy change.

Providing Linguistically Appropriate Services to Persons With Limited English Proficiency: A Needs and Resources Investigation

Author: Olivia Carter-Pokras, PhD; Marla J.F. O’Neill, MD; Vasana Cheanvechai, MD; Mikhail Menis, PharmD; Tao Fan; and Angelo Solera

Source: American Journal of Managed Care, September 2004

Summary: A questionnaire was developed and distributed to clinical practice managers at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine to assess the needs for language interpretation services and resources among clinical faculty providing healthcare to persons with limited English proficiency (LEP). Literature review, search of key Web sites, and consultation with national experts on issues pertaining to language access, health services, and reimbursement strategies also were done. Then, recommendations regarding the costs and benefits of language interpretation in healthcare settings were developed.  

New HIV/AIDS Observances Toolkit Available 

Author/Source: Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health

Summary: In June of 2004, the Office of Minority Health Resource Center published a unified toolkit designed to help organizations successfully promote local events for national AIDS/HIV observances. The toolkit contains sample press releases and interview availability announcements, as well as other promotional ideas. This new toolkit is part of a revamped "HIV/AIDS Observances" section on the Office of Minority Health web site.

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