209155 Structure and resources of minority health/health disparities offices

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 12:50 PM

Katie Sellers, DrPH , ASTHO, Arlington, VA
Meenoo Mishra, MPH , Association for State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), Arlington, VA
Although the federal Office of Minority Health was established in 1986, research on public health infrastructure to address minority health issues is in its infancy. This presentation uses data collected from a survey of State and Territorial Health Agencies (STHAs) to describe the state governmental structure to address health disparities and minority health. The survey was administered to the 57 STHAs between July and December, 2007. Responses were received from 44 states, one territory and the District of Columbia, for a response rate of 80.7%. Thirteen respondents (35.9%) reported that the top five priorities for the STHA included reducing or eliminating health disparities. Twenty seven states (58.7%) reported having an additional set of priorities to improve minority health or address health disparities. Forty-four (95.7%) of STHAs reported having one contact person for minority health and/or health disparities issues, while only 28 of those (63.6%) reported a contact person who devotes 100% of their time to minority health issues. Sixteen states (34.8%) had an internal task force devoted to minority health and 24 states (52.2%) had a task force external to the STHA. Those with a task force were more likely to have a strategic plan for minority health (p=.065), to have developed separate priorities for minority populations (p=.021) and to have designated contact people in the health agency's program areas (p=.025). This research describes existing infrastructure, allows for comparison among states, and contributes to the development of best practices research.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the state of public health infrastructure for addressing minority health issues. Identify ways in which some states have shown a strong commitment to eliminating health disparities. Recommend areas for further research.

Keywords: Health Disparities, Health Departments

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Currently, I manage ASTHO's health equity program and have worked in health disparities/ health equity issues for over 8 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.