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Office of Minority HealthTeacher in Classroom with Children

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 Office of Minority Health has actively participated in Health Disparity Task Forces authorized by the Oklahoma Legislature (2003-2006) and the Oklahoma Governor's (2007-2008). Each Task Force is composed of legislators, government officials, community advocates, faith-based partners, educators, business and health professionals, and concentrates on health issues disproportionately impacting minority and underserved populations. Each Task Force is generally directed to provide solutions to assist in the elimination of health disparities. Specifically, the Governor's Task Force builds on the recommendations and issues of the previous Legislature Task Force.  A final report by the Legislature Task Force was completed in 2006.  

Legislature Task Force Report

The Governor's Task Force is required to submit its final report in 2009.  

Technical Support to Local Communities

This involves responding to requests for data information related to health disparities information impacting racial and ethnic minority populations. Another type of assistance includes providing community organizations or individuals with state/federal funding opportunity information.

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.

Cultural Competency/Diversity Training

The Office of Minority Health, in collaboration with the Oklahoma State Department of Health Training Division, supports cultural competency/diversity training.  This training is intended to address health care access barriers among minority and underserved populations through discussion of culture and its impact on relationships between health care providers and their clients, including those clients with limited English proficiency. The training sessions may be provided by persons or organizations that meet the agency standards on cultural competency training. The Oklahoma State Department of Health employees are required to complete three hours cultural competency/diversity training as part of their annual performance evaluation.

Violence Prevention

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.

Contact Information:
1000 NE 10th Street, 2nd Floor,
Oklahoma City 73117-1299
Phone: (405) 271-1337



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