What Is the Office of Minority Health (OMH)?

America is a place where many different people seek to fulfill their dreams. Though America has been a land of opportunity for many, not all people have been given the same chance to succeed.

Unfortunately, some minorities suffer from lack of access to education, and social and medical services, which increases the risk for chronic disease and early death.

The Office of Minority Health (OMH) is a national resource for help and hope. OMH addresses issues related to health of ethnic and racial minority populations by offering an array of programs and initiatives. These focus on disease prevention, health promotion, risk reduction, healthier lifestyle choices, use of healthcare services and barriers to healthcare for racial and ethnic minorities.

Key strategies of OMH’s mission include:

  • Improving data collection, reporting and sharing for ethnic and racial minority populations
  • Establishing and strengthening networks, coalitions and partnerships to identify and solve health problems
  • Developing and promoting policies, programs and practices to achieve health equity
  • Fostering research and evaluations
  • Funding demonstration programs at the regional, state and local level that can contribute to health policy and the effectiveness of strategies for improving health

OMH Celebrates Asian-Pacific Heritage Month

The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community is the fastest growing racial group in the US. May was first established as Asian-Pacific Heritage Month to memorialize two historical events that occurred in the month of May:

  1. The immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843
  2. The anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad being on May 10, 1869. A large percentage of people who worked on the railroad were Chinese immigrants.

The OMH is working to put the health disparities of Asian American/Pacific islanders on the radar and educate people about ongoing efforts to do better for this population.

Related to Asian-Pacific Heritage Month, the White House recently established a program called Champions of Change for AAPI Art and Storytelling, and is partnering with StoryCorps to document and share AAPI stories, so take a look!

Don’t Miss OMH’s “Special Observances” for May and June

  1. Hepatitis Awareness Month (May)

Hepatitis frequently goes undetected by healthcare providers and patients. The new plan of action promises new approaches to treatment, expanding access to care and prevention services, promoting new recommendations for healthcare providers regarding screening, and increasing public awareness and concern.

  1. Men’s Health Day/Month (June)

June is designed to increase awareness about health inequalities that impact boys and men of color. By raising the dialogue on efforts, OMH hopes that all men will achieve better health outcomes.

  1. National HIV Awareness Days (May/June)

May 18th – HIV Vaccine Awareness Day

May 19th – National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/Aids Awareness Day

May 19th – Hepatitis Testing Day

June 8th – Caribbean American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

June 27th – National HIV Testing Day

  1. National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (July)

The United States House of Representatives has declared July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This gives agencies the chance to increase awareness about severe mental illness in diverse communities, as well as call attention to paths for wellness and recovery.

OMH Offers Valuable Ongoing Programs that Make a Difference!

  1. A Healthy Baby Begins with You

Infant mortality rates among African American babies are twice as high as those of the general population. This campaign is designed to raise awareness of infant mortality with an emphasis on the African American community.

  1. Baby Buggy Walk in the Park

This is a national infant mortality awareness initiative Developed by Baltimore Healthy Start, Inc. aimed to give women of reproductive age and new mothers confidence to take charge of their health and the health of their children. While enjoying the event, families learn important information about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  1. The Circle of Life Multimedia Program

A holistic health advocacy model used to help students learn about how to prevent diseases like HIV/AIDS. This program teaches students about making positive choices, and presents the consequences of risky behavior.

  1. Limb Loss Prevention

The HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) and American Diabetes Association partnered together to create a campaign purposed to educate individuals about amputation. They raise awareness around major factors that contribute to limb loss, and provider key preventative strategies to avoid it.

  1. Million Hearts

This campaign is designed to teach people about the consequences of heart disease and stroke, and how to prevent these problems with healthy lifestyle changes. They also created an Action Guide series to provide clinicians, employers, and public health practitioners with evidence-based strategies for improving cardiovascular health.

  1. My Brother’s Keeper

President Obama started the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to address opportunity gaps encountered by young men of color, and to ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. Through this initiative, young people are given the skills they need to become successful.

  1. Preconception Peer Educators Program (PPE)

Developed to raise awareness among college students about infant mortality and its causes. The PPE program works with the college age population to enlist college students as peer educators to spread vital preconception health messages.

  1. Native Generations

This campaign addresses the high rates of infant mortality among American Indians and Alaska Natives. This project highlights the attachment to culturally-grounded healthcare and community services to encourage healthy families and prevent infant deaths.