April is National Minority Health Month

Florida Department of Health Recognizes April as National Minority Health Month

TALLAHASSEE—April is National Minority Health Month and during this month the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Minority Health will join its partners in raising public awareness about health and health care disparities that continue to affect ethnic minorities and will continue its efforts to advance health equity.

“Florida’s goal to become the healthiest state in the nation includes all Floridians,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “The department is committed to minority health and the initiatives and partnerships put in place by the Office of Minority Health to promote health equity throughout our state.”

2015 theme commemorates 30th anniversary of landmark report on minority health

This year’s theme, “30 Years of Advancing Health Equity; The Heckler Report: A Force for Ending Health Disparities in America,” commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health, commonly referred to as the Heckler Report. This theme reflects the department’s push toward achieving a nation free of disparities in health and health care and reflects ways in which the Heckler Report has served as a driving force for monumental changes to advance health equity in research, policies, programs and legislation.

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As the Florida Department of Health and the Office of Minority Health continues to advance health equity in Florida, below are some highlights of past and current efforts:

  • Establishment of the Office of Minority Health In 2004, the department established the Office of Minority Health, Florida Statute 20.43(9).
  • State Health Improvement Plan The department works to include objectives from the 2012–2015 State Health Improvement Plan and Agency Strategic Plan, which outline mechanisms to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
  • Minority Health Profile Earlier this month, the department released the Minority Health Profile for Blacks and Hispanics on Florida CHARTS. The data contained in the reports is helpful for public health professionals and local governments to plan and evaluate programs and projects.
  • Closing the Gap In 2000, the department implemented the legislatively appropriated Minority Health Initiatives: Closing the Gap program, Section 381.7351–381.7356, Florida Statute. Today there are 16 providers throughout the state addressing health issues such as HIV and AIDS, diabetes, dental, heart disease, infant and maternal child health, cancer and child immunizations. These providers are putting in place projects to improve health outcomes of racial and ethnic populations and promote disease prevention activities, including healthy nutrition and physical activity.
  • Body and Soul Wellness Program Toolkit As part of the department’s Healthiest Weight Florida Initiative, the Office of Minority Health has made available the National Cancer Society-developed Body and Soul Wellness Program as an Online Toolkit for African-American churches to promote healthy eating and physical activity within faith-based organizations.
  • Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services The department is actively working to promote the Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards developed in 2000 and revised between 2010 and 2013 by the Health and Human Service National Office of Minority Health. The standards were designed to help organizations provide effective, equitable, understandable and respectful quality care and services that are responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs, practices, preferred languages, health literacy and other communication needs.



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