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/.
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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 5/5/2011 by Mirtha Beadle, M.P.A.
Goal: Q&A with Mirtha about the NPA and National Stakeholder Strategy. The content will explain what the National Stakeholder Strategy is and how it will be implemented.
OMH: What was the impetus for the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA)?
For too long these leaders and advocates have been working in isolation to combat health disparities. The NPA is intended to refocus and advance existing efforts, and encourage innovations to deliver better results to the American people.
OMH: You recently unveiled the National Stakeholder Strategy (NSS). What is different about it?
The NSS addresses that so much of what affects health happens outside the doctor's office. The strategies and goals outlined in the NSS move us beyond controlling disease to tackling the unequal neighborhood and other conditions that are the root causes of health disparities. It calls on individuals and organizations within the health sector to work with others from housing, education, transportation and other sectors to address the social, economic and environmental factors that contribute to poor health - what we call the social determinants of health.
Finally, the NSS reflects the voices of the communities who are on the frontlines, grappling with these issues every day, and is rooted in their knowledge about what is needed and what works to help close health gaps in this country.
OMH: How can people on the frontlines use the National Stakeholder Strategy to address health disparities in their communities?
Our main objective is to figure out how to start connecting activities that are working-like reducing asthma among children, improving management of high-risk conditions or increasing access to health care for vulnerable populations-and elevate them so that we drive change in a broad way. This doesn't mean that community X or Y changes what they are doing. We just want to make sure that those efforts can have the greatest impact. The first step toward this goal is the creation of 10 regional health equity councils that will use the NSS to finalize a blueprint for their region that builds on effective programs and initiatives in states and communities throughout that region.
OMH: What is the Federal government doing?
The Federal Interagency Health Equity Team, which includes representatives of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency, will guide federal agencies and their partners to work together and take action to address the social, economic and environmental factors that contribute to health disparities.
OMH: What is next for the NPA?
Our immediate priority is working with the 10 regional health equity councils to help local stakeholders identify problems, set priorities, and work together to reduce health disparities and finalize several important partnerships.
OMH: How can others get involved?
Posted in: HHS Health Disparities Partnership Community Federal | Comments | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
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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.
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