The mission of the Office of Minority Health (OMH) is to improve and protect the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will eliminate health disparities.
OMH was established in 1986 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It advises the Secretary and the Office of Public Health and Science (OPHS) on public health program activities affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.
OMH operates the OMH Resource Center (OMHRC), which serves as a free information and referral service on minority health issues for community groups, consumers, professionals, and students. It assists OPHS and OMH in distributing scientifically valid and culturally competent health information, encourages public participation in HHS programs and assists in conducting health campaigns. OMHRC maintains a minority health knowledge center and database; helps link people to HHS health services and resources; distributes publications; manages exhibits; publishes funding opportunities; maintains a list of volunteer resource experts available to the public; and conducts literature searches.
The Resource Center also provides capacity development services to smaller, underserved faith and community-based organizations. Principal areas in which assistance is offered include: organizational infrastructure, cultural competency, community outreach, program design, communications, and training. Technical assistance is provided through a combination of regional skills-building workshops, on-site consultations, and telephone, mail and e-mail consultations.
OMHRC operates a toll-free telephone service (800-444-6472), accessible throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands; and provides a TDD telephone (301-251-1432) for the hearing-impaired. Bilingual information specialists answer English and Spanish-language inquiries.
Established in 1987 under an administrative order, OMHRC has been authorized since 1990 by Section 1707 of the Public Health Service Act, as amended. Services of the Resource Center are provided without charge.
The Center for Cultural and Linguistic Competence in Health Care serves as a resource for health care professionals to address the cultural and linguistic barriers to health care delivery and increase access to health care for limited English-proficient people. Through the Center, OMH supports research, demonstrations, and evaluations to test new and innovative models aimed at increasing knowledge and providing a clearer understanding of health risk factors and successful prevention intervention strategies for minority populations.
OMH has developed several tools to promote cultural and linguistic competence including the National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS), the continuing medical education program, A Physician's Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Health Care, and the new Patient-Centered Guide to Implementing Language Access Services in Healthcare Organizations.
To contact the Office of the Director:
The Tower Building
1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite 600
Rockville, MD 20852
P.O. Box 37337
Washington, D.C. 20013-7337
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