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/.
Posted in: Health Minority Populations OMH HHS Federal | Comments | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
Posted on 5/2/2013 by J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director, Office of Minority Health
From the earliest chapters of the American story, our diversity has defined us, and given us strength. "Out of many, one": those simple yet powerful words speak to an unshakable faith in the ties that bind us together.
In the face of changing demographics in this country and a health care system undergoing unprecedented transformation, cultural and linguistic competency may just be one of our most powerful levers for advancing health equity and improving care for everyone.
Last week, the Office of Minority Health along with several partners released the new enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care —also known as the enhanced CLAS Standards. The enhanced CLAS Standards aim to advance health equity, improve quality and help eliminate health disparities by establishing a framework for health and health care organizations to deliver effective, culturally responsive and linguistically appropriate care and services. Accompanying the standards is the Blueprint for Advancing and Sustaining CLAS Policy and Practice, a resource filled with implementation strategies to help organizations develop culturally and linguistically appropriate policies and practices.
We launched the original CLAS Standards in 2000, and now, with the input of experts and advocates from around the country, we have updated the standards to ensure an even stronger platform for equity. The enhanced CLAS Standards are grounded in a broad definition of culture – recognizing that our health beliefs and practices are influenced not only by race, ethnicity and language, but also socioeconomic status, religion, spirituality, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity and geography. The enhanced standards emphasize governance and accountability – underscoring the need for strong leadership in advancing system-wide change. And they call for participation by a broad array of organizations, recognizing that health equity cannot be achieved unless all institutions and all sectors are at the table.
For too long, too many Americans have struggled to achieve good health because the health care and services that are available to them do not adequately address their needs. Over the years, we have found that one of the most effective approaches to closing these costly gaps is ensuring the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate care. A growing body of research shows that health outcomes and patient experiences improve when care and services are provided in an environment that is culturally respectful and responsive at every point of contact.
The enhanced National CLAS Standards build on the foundation of the Affordable Care Act, empowering health and health care organizations to participate in the transformation of our nation's system of care, and better serve our nation's increasingly diverse communities.
We encourage everyone – from individuals and organizations – to take part by promoting, adopting and implementing the enhanced CLAS Standards. At this time of transformation, we have a remarkable window of opportunity to advance health equity and ensure that all Americans, in all communities, have a chance to live healthy lives.
To learn more, visit the Office of Minority Health's "Think Cultural Health" website – a resource on cultural and linguistic competency, including free e-learning curricula for health providers. And join in the conversation with @MinorityHealth by using the hashtag #CLASStandards as we work together to make CLAS the standard in health and health care.
Posted in: | Comments | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
Posted on 5/2/2013 by Erin Poetter, ONC
Posted on Health IT Buzz blog on April 29, 2013
As part of National Minority Health Month, we're excited to release a brief report summarizing some important conversations that have recently taken place around the issue of eHealth equity.
As background, in February, ONC helped organize a White House Summit on Achieving eHealth Equity in collaboration with the Office of Minority Health, and ZeroDivide-an organization working to use technology to reduce economic and health disparities.
Many of those participants came together again earlier this month for a follow-up conversation via webinar, and pledged to keep their conversations going into the future. A summary of the Achieving eHealth Equity discussions is available online.
Increased Access to Health IT will Benefit Minority Health Outcomes
A new report released by the California Pan Ethnic Health Network at the White House Summit on Achieving eHealth Equity highlights some key benefits of expanded health IT use. For example, data collected through EHRs can help pinpoint health equity issues and give researchers some of the tools they need to find interventions to address those issues.
For patients, particularly those with specific linguistic, cultural, or other needs, use of this data can help ensure they have access to the right resources when using the health care system. In our recent Health Affairs paper, we cite two examples of research that highlight this potential.
Challenges in leveraging Health IT for Improving Minority Health
Ideas for Next Steps to Increase Health IT's Role in Minority Health Outcomes
HHS is committed to the advancement of health equity and eHealth equity.
The Summit represented neither the beginning nor the end of the conversation but rather and opportunity to bring key stakeholders together to share successes, challenges and a passion for working individually and collaboratively to make eHealth equity a reality.
Download the Achieving eHealth Equity summary report and comment below with your thoughts.
We look forward to continuing the conversation on this important topic.
Also, a special thanks to our partners at ZeroDivide, for their excellent facilitation of the meeting, especially:
Posted in: | Comments | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
Addressing Poverty Today Among Those Facing Significant Social and Economic Challenges for a Healthier, Successful Tomorrow
Addressing Poverty Today Among Those Facing Significant Social and Economic Challenges for a Healthier, Successful Tomorrow At the Administration for Children and Families, we help to promote the social and economic well-being of millions who are struggling to get into the middle class. ACF administers more than 60 programs that include family assistance, Head Start, child welfare and other programs for families and children.
Our efforts to help lift people out of poverty got extra help from the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2010. This bold new legislation created comprehensive health insurance reforms that will take full effect in 2014. The law also provided crucial funding for health programs to help most in need and served by ACF programs.
The Affordable Care Act funds:
Anticipating this growth, the Affordable Care Act gave ACF’s Office of Family Assistance funding for 32 HPOG programs throughout the nation. Grantees that educate this future workforce partner with community organizations to enhance supportive services for Health Profession Opportunity Grant students, such as transportation, dependent care and temporary housing.
As you can see below, for many of these future medical professionals, this opportunity is a second chance at life. Luz Torres was out of a job, living out of a car and couldn’t provide for her family of four in the Seattle-area — until a Food Bank worker referred the young Latina to an HPOG program administered in Washington state.
Quinton Sanders dropped of out of high school to take care of his elderly grandmother. Having no diploma or career prospects, the African-American teenager was determined not to become another statistic and sought help from a South Carolina works program that showed him a pathway to self sufficiency.
Van Dinh Kuno, a former Vietnamese immigrant, is able to help other new citizens fulfill their American Dream on a regular basis. Kuno’s Refugee and Immigrant Services Northwest center has successfully placed 50 HPOG students in good paying jobs with full benefits since 2011.
ACF is working hard with communities of color to help promote these great opportunities provided by the Affordable Care Act. For more HPOG success stories, visit the HPOG Community.
Posted in: | Comments | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
Posted on 5/2/2013 by Larke Nahme Huang, Ph.D.
Last month marked the third anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a landmark effort to make health insurance coverage more affordable and accessible. Among the many provisions guiding health reform, the Affordable Care Act includes requirements to ensure the health care system provides adequate coverage for individuals in need of services for mental and substance use disorders. According to a report from the HHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), the Affordable Care Act provides one of the largest expansions of mental health and substance use disorder coverage in a generation.
Starting January 2014, an estimated 27 million uninsured individuals will have access to health insurance, and 25 percent of uninsured adults have a mental health condition or substance use disorder or both. The Affordable Care Act presents critical opportunities to improve access to care for these individuals. Building on the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA), the Affordable Care Act ensures that mental health and substance use services for newly covered individuals are provided at parity with medical and surgical benefits. The law also requires all new small group and individual market plans to cover 10 Essential Health Benefit categories, including mental health and substance use disorder services.
Improvements to the health care system will not only benefit individuals with behavioral health conditions, but also other groups who experience health disparities. Racial and ethnic minority populations are disproportionately uninsured, face systemic barriers to health care services, and often receive lower quality care and experience worse health outcomes. A concerted effort is needed to ensure that individuals from diverse racial and ethnic populations in need of mental health or substance use services are able to benefit from the expansion of coverage offered by the Affordable Care Act.
As the open enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace approaches, targeted approaches for outreach and enrollment of diverse populations will be critical to reaching these vulnerable groups. The Office of Behavioral Health Equity at SAMHSA has partnered with four national associations (National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association, National Council on Urban Indian Health, National Latino Behavioral Health Association, and National Leadership Council on African American Behavioral Health) to identify and support the implementation of culturally appropriate outreach and enrollment practices, with the goal of increasing health insurance coverage among diverse populations.
Improved coordinated care and the integration of primary and behavioral health care, supported by Affordable Care Act provisions, will also benefit minority populations in need of mental health or substance use services. Individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups are more likely to seek services from primary care providers; therefore, integrated care models can increase access to behavioral health services. Coordinated care also offers the potential to provide improved services for prevention and early intervention. SAMHSA funds the Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration program, to provide support to communities to coordinate and integrate primary care services into publicly funded, community-based behavioral health settings, resulting in improved access to primary care services; improved prevention, early identification and intervention to reduce the incidence of serious physical illnesses, including chronic disease; increased availability of integrated, holistic care for physical and behavioral disorders; and better overall health status of clients.
Through these provisions and an emphasis on reducing health disparities, the Affordable Care Act presents critical opportunities for making access to health care more affordable for diverse populations. Now as the federal government partners with communities, we can work together to ensure these opportunities become a reality.
Posted in: Health Minority Populations Health Disparities National Minority Health Month | Comments | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
Top 5 recent blog topics are shown on this page. Please use search feature for other blog topics.
About the Blog
The Federal NPA Team writes about their thoughts on pressing issues, news and events concerning NPA. Follow and participate in this candid discussion.
Recent Blog Posts
→ Announcing the Winners of the Reducing Cancer Among Women of Color App Challenge
→ Enhanced National CLAS Standards Released
→ Achieving eHealth Equity - A report from National Minority Health Month
→ Addressing Poverty Today Among Those Facing Significant Social and Economic Challenges for a Healthier, Successful Tomorrow
→ Opportunities for a Better Behavioral Health System for Minority Populations
→ Research and Health Disparities: Breaking Down Barriers
→ Helping Americans Attain Optimal Health: The Affordable Care Act Delivering on its Promise
→ "I just didn’t want to hear any more bad news…"
→ Promoting Health Equity During Minority Health Month and Beyond
→ A big sister’s advice – get covered!