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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Minority Health

Office of Minority Health (OMH) Logo



Grantee Information

Organization: Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMH-HE)

Organization Address: 4900 N. Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX 78751

Phone Number: 512-424-6642

Fax Number: 512-424-6925

Organization website URL (if any):

Brief Description of the Organization: The Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMH-HE) is a central repository for resources to increase the ability of health service departments and programs, universities, and community-based organizations to address health disparities. The office works or contracts with state and federal agencies, universities, offices of minority health and others on initiatives to reduce or eliminate disparities in health and healthcare access and to promote culturally and linguistically appropriate health-related services. OMH-HE encourages system-level approaches to achieve health equity through the promotion of social and environmental risk reduction and healthy living options for lifestyle changes so as to improve the health of communities. The office also supports efforts for reducing systemic barriers to access and use of health and healthcare services.

Grant Project Information

Title of Grant Project: State Partnership Initiative to Address Chronic Disease Health Disparities

Amount of OMH Award: $200,000

Name of Project Director: Rosanna Barrett

Phone Number of Project Director: 512-424-6642

E-mail Address of Project Director:


Individuals who are overweight and obese are at a higher risk for developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. In particular, minority groups such as Hispanics and African Americans are more susceptible to these conditions due to additional contributing factors, such as low health literacy levels, limited access to health care, and low socioeconomic status. Diabetes and hypertension rates are notably higher in South and East Texas compared to the rest of the state. The State Partnership Initiative to Address Chronic Disease Health Disparities project goal is to reduce chronic disease disparities among African Americans and Hispanics in East and South Texas through promotion of culturally and linguistically appropriate health messages and activities.

The Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMH-HE) aims to reduce obesity rates and increase screenings for Body Mass Index (BMI), diabetes and hypertension among African American and Hispanic adults in Jefferson and Webb Counties through an educational webpage, an interactive mobile phone wellness app, and three mini-grants to support community-clinical linkages to be awarded through a competitive request for proposals process to local community-based organizations. OMH-HE will develop an educational webpage which will house the Health Disparities Profile focused on Healthy People 2020's Leading Health Indicator on obesity. In addition to the webpage, OMH-HE will lead the development of a mobile phone wellness app that will provide access to usable and understandable information to empower users to take control of their health. The wellness app will be available in English and Spanish. It will feature a Weekly Meal Planner based on U.S. Department of Agriculture recommendations with interactive proportioned meal options, culturally relevant recipes, and customized grocery lists; a Weekly Physical Activity Planner with a pedometer, personalized exercise options, and community exercise class and cooking class finder; and, a Mental Wellness Support function where users select daily stress level icons about the challenges of losing weight that lead to evidence-based stress relieving strategies and motivational quotes. Finally, OMH-HE will provide support and guidance to community partners who focus on health promotion and disease prevention among racial and ethnic minority groups and vulnerable populations via three community-based mini-grants over the five year project period. These mini-grants will support community (adult) screenings for BMI, diabetes, and hypertension at community wellness education events/clinics, and will link the community with health care providers for follow-up diagnosis, treatment, and management.

The project seeks to bridge the gap in accessibility of culturally relevant, easy-to-understand health information for rural and socially disadvantaged populations by increasing health literacy and the number of patients making informed health decisions. By increasing community-clinical linkages, as well as access to useful, usable, and understandable health information, the health literacy and health outcomes of disadvantaged populations in South and East Texas will be improved. This initiative builds on the premise that informed patients will make appropriate health decisions, utilize available health care resources, improve self-care, and maintain healthy lifestyles, all of which are key strategies to reducing adverse health outcomes and health care costs.

Texas OMH-HE will conduct a mixed-methods research design for the proposed project. Quantitative surveys, observational data, and qualitative focus group interviews will inform the evaluation. The evaluation for this project will include a needs assessment, process evaluation and outcome evaluation.

Process measures include:

  • Observation data collected at presentations by staff to assess wellness app usage and barriers to program delivery;
  • Observation of participating healthcare provider clinics to determine level of wellness app promotion.
    • Outcome measures include:

      • Participants’ assessment of the accessibility, readability, and cultural relevance of the wellness app;
      • Participants’ health literacy;
      • Participants’ measured and/or perceived change in behavior and/or health status due to intervention strategies;

      Performance measures for this project include:

      • Number of app downloads;
      • Number of interns, community health workers, and promotoras trained to promote the wellness app;
      • Percent of app users who reported learning a new health skill;
      • Percent of app users who reported increased health literacy;
      • Percent of app users who reported weight loss or BMI reduction;
      • Percent of app users who reported increased physical activities;
      • Percent of app users who used the mental wellness interactive component;
      • Percent of app users who reported increased use of stress relieving activities.


      Awareness : Increase awareness of the significance of health disparities, their impact on the nation, and the actions necessary to improve health outcomes for racial, ethnic, and underserved populations.

      Health System and Life Experience : Improve health and healthcare outcomes for racial, ethnic, and underserved populations.

      Cultural and Linguistic Competency : Improve cultural and linguistic competency and the diversity of the health-related workforce.


      • NWS-9: Reduce adult (age 20+) obesity rates by 5% among African Americans and Hispanics
      1/12/2016 2:57:00 PM