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Office of Minority Health
The Office of Minority Health focuses on health concerns and issues evident by the disproportionate number of preventable deaths, diseases and disabilities in minority and underserved populations. The core of these concerns highlights their goals to eliminate health disparities among Oklahoma’s minority and underserved population. The Office of Minority Health generally concentrates on seven major health disparity areas including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, HIV/STD, infant mortality, immunization and tobacco prevention. The Office of Minority Health does not operate programs but rather, supports the agency's programs, services or policy through technical assistance or in an advisory capacity.
Additionally, the Office of Minority Health participates in local and national minority health care initiatives through its collaboration with local community organizations and with the federal government (Region VI, U.S. Public Health Services, Office of Minority Health). Specific activities are detailed below:
Health Disparities Task Force
The Governor's Task Force is required to submit its final report in 2009.
Technical Support to Local Communities
Limited English Proficiency Compliance
Oklahoma, as experienced by other states, has been impacted by changing demographics. Census 2000 statistics indicate that Hispanics and Asians, for example, are projected to continue to have growth rates higher than other racial and ethnic populations. Additionally, this growth rate is accompanied with language and cultural challenges that are impacting the ability of health care providers in the state to provide culturally appropriate services. The Office of Minority Health has Translator/Interpreter positions that provide for translation/medical interpretation services for the agency and its clients. This service is in part, a requirement for the Oklahoma State Department of Health to comply with federal Culturally Linguistically and Appropriate Services mandates requiring organizations receiving federal funds to provide language services to persons with limited English proficiency. The positions mainly provide support for Spanish at this time although other languages are addressed where appropriate. The positions may also allow for the provision of conversational Spanish courses for Oklahoma State Department of Health employees and for continuing education in cultural competency/diversity and medical interpretation, as needed. Finally, the Office of Minority Health offers assistance in the medical development of agency policy interpretation/translation services.
These are performance-based contracts that allow the Oklahoma State Department of Health to contract with organizations that provide services to minority and disadvantaged youth as they pertain to violence prevention. The agency's primary role in this initiative is to assist with program development, reporting and financial compliance.
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