Blog: National Partnership for Action
Posted on 5/15/2013 by J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health
As we celebrate National Women's Health Week, we reaffirm our commitment to women's health - and look ahead to new innovations, new platforms, and new opportunities in our efforts to empower women and advance health equity for women in all communities.
In August 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the Reducing Cancer Among Women of Color Challenge. The challenge called on software developers and entrepreneurs to create an application for mobile devices that would help women in underserved and minority communities access information about cancer screening and preventive services, link to electronic health records, and connect with providers and community health workers. This was the first-of-its-kind, effort to engage and empower women of color in the fight against cancer - and put technology to the test in addressing deep-rooted health disparities.
Each year, more than 68,000 women in the United States die from breast, cervical, uterine, and ovarian cancers. Given gaps in education, prevention, early treatment, quality of care, and access to networks of support, a disproportionate burden of these diseases falls upon women of color.
In the face of these disparities, the developer community stepped up to the challenge. As submissions came in from all across the country, a panel of judges comprised of federal and private experts in health care and health information technology set to work assessing the entries. Selection criteria included: capacity to provide users with general, easy-to-access information about screenings; securely communicate with patient health records or provider-sponsored patient portals; provide user-specific reminders about preventive services; accommodate multiple languages; encourage patient and family engagement with providers; and connect patients to community health workers who can provide support in adhering to complex care plans.
Based on these criteria, first place, second place, third place, and honorable mention distinctions were awarded. On behalf of the HHS Office of Minority Health and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, I am excited to announce the winners:
We are excited to provide new tools to help minority women and those in underserved communities take control of their health by receiving a list of screening and preventive services and details on how to better coordinate their information and care.
The Reducing Cancer Among Women of Color Challenge is a partnership between the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the HHS Office of Minority Health. To learn more about the app challenge, the winners, and information on how to download the winning apps please visit: http://challenge.gov/ONC/402-reducing-cancer-among-women-of-color and http://www.health2con.com/devchallenge/reducing-cancer-among-women-color-challenge/.
Posted in: Health Minority Populations OMH HHS Federal | Comments | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
Posted on 4/26/2012 by J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE
During April, we celebrate National Minority Health Month by reflecting on the progress that has been achieved in reducing racial and ethnic health disparities. As we continue to move forward toward health equity, we recognize that this has truly been a year of unprecedented opportunity for minority populations.
The Affordable Care Act -- the landmark health care law signed by President Obama two years ago -- is generating new opportunities in the national effort to eliminate health disparities.
The new health care law gives Americans the security of knowing that they don't have to worry about losing coverage if they get sick or change jobs:
The law makes significant investments in funding community health centers and increasing the number of doctors, nurses, and other health care providers in underserved communities.
And, in addition to these items, the law calls for the development of new data collection standards in order to better understand the diversity of the populations we serve. The standards have been developed for HHS-sponsored population health surveys and will expand Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) categories - Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Samoan, and other Pacific Islanders. Commenting on the importance of research and data collection, President Obama said that improved insight into Asian Americans' and Pacific Islanders' diverse health needs will help ensure that no one is invisible to their government.
We built on the Affordable Care Act with the release of the the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and the National Partnership for Action's National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity. We also celebrated the release of the first-ever HHS Plan for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Health which elevated Asian American and Pacific Islander health issues across the Department.
It's a remarkable moment of opportunity. Conversations about health equity are occurring across the country and strengthened by community support across the nation.
In that spirit, we have designated the theme for this year's Minority Health Month to be Health Equity Can't Wait: Act Now in Your CommUNITY! - a call to action for stakeholders everywhere, because this chance to make progress and change history won't wait. There are many things that people can do to celebrate National Minority Health month, including participating in local community events across the country or taking our online pledge and adding your voice to others around the country that are working to achieve health equity.
To find out more about National Minority Health Month; the HHS Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Plan; and other initiatives on health equity, visit http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov.
Posted in: HHS National Minority Health Month | Comments | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
Posted on 11/1/2011 by Dr. Howard Koh, HHS Assistant Secretary for Health
This year we have achieved important milestones in our commitments to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities, including the release of Healthy People 2020 and the National Prevention Strategy, as well as the launch of the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.
Today, we are achieving yet another milestone, by implementing an important provision of the Affordable Care Act that will improve the collection of data on HHS-sponsored surveys. With this advance, we as a nation can better understand and target health disparities and ultimately move toward eliminating them.
After reviewing the more than 400 public comments we received on draft standards proposed last June, we are now publishing final standards for data collection and reporting on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status. Previously, identifying and reducing disparities has been limited by a lack of uniformity, specificity, and quality in data collection and reporting. Now, consistent methods for collecting and reporting health data will help us to better characterize and compare the nature of health problems in targeted populations. These new data standards, required by the Affordable Care Act, represent a powerful new set of tools to move us closer to our vision of a nation free of disparities in health and health care.
With respect to race and ethnicity, we can now collect more data on key groups. For example, by adding Mexican American and Chicano/a, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Other Hispanic Latino/a or Spanish origin as explicit categories on all HHS-sponsored health surveys, we can better capture, understand and act upon the specific challenges presented by each ethnic group -- challenges that would otherwise be lost under broader terms, like "Hispanic" or "Latino." Such detail could possibly shed light on health problems such as initial studies that suggest the diabetes-related mortality rate for Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans may be twice as high as that seen for Cuban Americans.
With respect to disability and primary language, this announcement also breaks new ground. These first- ever uniform disability standards will ultimately improve researchers' abilities to monitor and track health disparities in this critical public health area. And, for the first time, we can collect in a standardized way, information of the primary language spoken by a person or in a household.
Separately, we are continuing to implement efforts that will ultimately allow integration of questions on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) health into national HHS data collection efforts. Expanding data collection to include information on the health of the LGBT population is important to understanding and tackling disparities.
The Department's data collection efforts under these new standards will continue to ensure privacy protection and apply all appropriate information security safeguards in the collection, analysis, and sharing of data.
All these advances collectively strengthen the critical information by which we, as a nation, identify and address disparities in the future. For more on the final data standards on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status, please visit www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/section4302.
Posted in: Health OMH HHS Health Disparities | Comments | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
Posted on 8/25/2011 by Garth N. Graham M.D., M.P.H
Join me in congratulating our Deputy Director, Mirtha Beadle, on her appointment to Deputy Administrator for Operations for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Mirtha's expertise will undoubtedly be a welcomed addition to the SAMHSA core leadership team, where she will work alongside SAMHSA Administrator, Pamela Hyde, and Principal Deputy Administrator, Kana Enomoto.
Since joining the Office of Minority Health (OMH) in 2004, Ms. Beadle has served as a driving force behind the advancement of our national leadership role in disparities reduction. While Mirtha has been passionate about all health disparity policy issues, she has been particularly engaged in OMH's efforts to reduce infant mortality, elevate hepatitis B disparities as a national issue, reduce meth use/abuse, address food insecurity, and create a new cadre of young leaders through OMH's internship and fellowship programs. Among her most notable accomplishments are the establishments of our State Partnership and American Indian/Alaska Native grant programs, as well as her leadership in the development of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA).
I know just how honored Mirtha has been to work with OMH Central and Regional Office staff; Federal colleagues; and our national, state, tribal, and community partners to develop the National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity, and establish the Regional Health Equity Councils that will provide the structure for multi-sectoral engagement to eliminate health disparities throughout the United States. I applaud Mirtha for her tireless efforts to date; and I look forward to the opportunity for continued synergy across the agencies, as I am confident that the advancement of the NPA is a priority that Mirtha will carry on with her as she transitions into her new role.
Dr. Rochelle Rollins, Division Director for the OMH Division of Policy and Data, will assume leadership of the management of the NPA. Rochelle has played an integral role in initiative thus far, and will continue to work with OMH staff and the Federal Health Equity Interagency Team members to move this important work forward.
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Posted on 6/6/2011 by Miguel Gomez, AIDS.gov Director
As we approach 30 years since the first reported cases of AIDS in the United States on Sunday, June 5, I’m excited to share with you the message that the White House released this afternoon on 30 years of AIDS. You can read the press statement below or here on the Office of National AIDS Policy website.
Washington, D.C. – Thirty years ago this Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first reported on the condition that would eventually become known as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Over the past three decades, HIV has emerged as a potent global pandemic, and today more than 33 million people around the world are living with HIV and more than two million deaths from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) annually. Even today, more than 50,000 people in the United States are infected with HIV in the United States.
"We pause to mark the thirty years we have been fighting HIV/AIDS." said President Barack Obama. "As we remember people in our own lives we have lost and stand by those living with HIV/AIDS, we must also rededicate ourselves to finally ending this pandemic – in this country and around the world."
"This battle is not over," said Secretary for Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. "As long as the AIDS virus threatens the health and lives of people here and around the globe, our work will continue to connect people to treatment, educate them about how to protect themselves, battle discrimination, and to keep the country focused on our collective fight against this pandemic."
While America has made great strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS in recent years, the Obama Administration has made it a priority to re-focus national attention on a domestic epidemic that is still in play. Building on a growing body of evidence and lessons learned, the Administration released last year and is now implementing a comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy that provides a roadmap for reducing new infections, improving care and health outcomes for people living with HIV/AIDS, and reducing the health disparities that have characterized this epidemic.
The President is also deeply committed to expanding access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care for more Americans and to supporting a robust research agenda to ensure that we make steady progress toward ending the pandemic. Under the President's leadership, the Administration has increased domestic HIV/AIDS funding to support the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and HIV prevention. On the global stage, the Obama Administration's Global Health Initiative has built on the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) by expanding access to treatment, prevention and care for those in need around the world, and further enhanced our impact by providing increased support for maternal-child health and by supporting the efforts of governments and communities in the developing world to build their capacity to fight this epidemic and meet the other health challenges they face. The Administration will continue to use its leadership to call upon other countries to honor their commitments to defeat a pandemic that demands the attention of the entire world.
On the domestic front and international stage, the Administration continues to work closely with the American people who, on this day, should stand proud of what they have done, at home and abroad, to ignite our collective commitment to this worthy cause.
To view an interactive timeline of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and read more information, including upcoming events, please go to http://aids.gov/thirty-years-of-aids/
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The Federal NPA Team writes about their thoughts on pressing issues, news and events concerning NPA. Follow and participate in this candid discussion.
Recent Blog Posts
→ Eliminating health disparities among American Indian and Alaska Native Men: The first step is awareness
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→ Men's Health Disparities: The Silent Crisis
→ Announcing the Winners of the Reducing Cancer Among Women of Color App Challenge
→ Enhanced National CLAS Standards Released
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