Angela Dawson, Executive Director
Ohio Commission on Minority Health
77 South High Street, 18th Floor
Columbus, Ohio   43215
Phone: (614) 466-4000
Fax: (614) 752-9049
On December 17, 1985, Executive Order 85-69 was signed, creating the Governor’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health. The task force was created to:
  • Examine conditions under which gaps in the health and health care services for black and minority communities exist and recommend methods by which the gaps may be closed;
  • Design methods for disseminating health information and education materials especially designed for the minority community;
  • Develop models to improve access and utilization of public health services; and
  • Develop strategies to improve the availability and accessibility of health professionals to minority communities.
The work of the task force included deliberations at eight (8) public hearings conducted in communities statewide. These hearings attracted more than 2,000 people who identified problems and proposed solutions relative to health issues and systems in the State. The hearings constituted the basis for the Final Report issued by the Task Force on April 4, 1987. The final recommendation of the report was to create an autonomous state agency to address issues of minority health. In July 1987, Am. Sub. H.B. 171 created the Ohio Commission on Minority Health.
The Commission is an autonomous State agency with its own line items in the State budget.
The work of the commission is operationalized by a full time staff of 9 (nine) that serve at the pleasure of the Board. The eighteen (18) member board consists of: two members from the Ohio House of Representatives (one from each party) appointed by the Speaker of the House; two members of the Senate (one from each party) appointed by the president of the Senate; the directors of the Ohio Departments of Health, Human Services, Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, the superintendent of Public Instruction; and nine community members appointed by the governor to serve two-year terms.
The Ohio Commission on Minority Health is dedicated to eliminating disparities in minority health through innovative strategies and financial opportunities, public health promotion, legislative action, policy and systems change. The commission has established guiding principles to govern its work:
  • We involve and empower the community.
  •  Our work is based on the documented needs and interests of the community.
  • We are culturally competent practitioners who are informed about minority health.
  • We are expected to demonstrate personal and professional integrity.
  • We prove to be accountable, reliable and guided by ethical standards.
  • We make fair and equitable decisions.
  • We value the formation of strategic partnerships.
  • We establish performance targets and assess performance regularly.
  • We promote excellence and innovation.
Infrastructure and Capacity Building
The Commission is initiating and extending several initiatives aimed at addressing and/or expanding infrastructure development in State Fiscal Years 2010-11. Included in these initiatives are the Research Evaluation Enhancement Project (REEP); Local Offices of Minority Health (LOMH): the Minority Health Institute of Ohio; statewide racial/ethnic health coalitions and sustaining “local conversation networks” throughout the State in support of the U S Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities.
The Research Evaluation and Enhancement Project (REEP), is a Commission funded initiative that began in 1995 to identify culturally competent researchers and evaluators throughout the State. REEP was created to (1) develop (in conjunction with community based organizations, agencies and academics) a statewide ethnic/cultural health research agenda and (2) the parallel generation of a culturally appropriate evaluation system for use in assessing outcomes of Commission-funded health promotion, disease prevention and health education projects addressing the needs of African Americans, Asian Americans, Latino/Hispanics and Native Americans. A statewide panel of evaluators, selected through a Request for Proposals process utilizes a standardized system of evaluation for all Commission funded projects. Approved evaluators are assigned an evaluation partner from the REEP panel.
Additionally, REEP worked with academic institutions and minority community based organizations to create an Ethnic/Cultural Health Research Agenda for Ohio. This agenda has been submitted for approval by the Medicaid Technical Assistance and Policy Program (MEDTAPP).
In 2006, the Commission created community level infrastructure to develop, support and maintain local minority health work by establishing (funding) six (6) Local Offices of
Minority Health (LOMH). Offices are located in Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown. In addition to determining local priorities the offices are charged to implement four of the core competencies established by the National Association of State Offices of Minority Health:
·         monitor health status;
·         inform, educate and empower people;
·         mobilize community participation and actions; and
·         develop policies and plans to support health efforts.
The Ohio Minority Health Institute has been housed at Central State University since inception. The Institute, funded by the Commission, is a training and technical assistance center that focuses on enhancing operational effectiveness and capacity building for minority community based health organizations.
The Commission provided funds to develop and maintains programming for statewide health coalitions in the Hispanic/Latino, Asian and Native American communities. These coalitions insure voice for these communities, sponsor events to further improvement in health status, provide information, education and training specific to each community’s needs. Since 2002 each coalition has hosted statewide capacity building opportunities. The Commission has encouraged institutionalization of these groups.
In 2008 the Asian Health Coalition secured a 501 c 3 and has been awarded a $1 million Kellogg grant.
In 2008 the Commission launched “Local Conversations” in response to the Federal Office of Minority Health’s National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA). Conversations were held in/by: Toledo (6.13), Lima (6.17-18), Ohio Asian Health Coalition (6.27-28), Native American Indian Coalition (7.21), Springfield (7.29), Cincinnati (8.23), Canton (8.28), Hispanic/Latino Health Coalition (8.29), Akron (9.10), Lorain/Elyria (9.13), Dayton (9.19), Steubenville (9.29), Mansfield (10.01/28), Cleveland (10.7), Youngstown (10.15), Sandusky (10.18), Columbus (10.24), Ravenna (10.30) and Portsmouth (11.17). Each city developed a local blueprint to address elimination of health disparities and continues to implement elimination strategies. Additionally, each city selected a representative to participate on a statewide committee charged with using local blueprints to develop a State blueprint. The committee also consists of representatives from State human serving departments and voluntary health organizations.
Internal Grant Programs
The Commission awards grants to community based entities. Applications that are considered non-traditional by “the system” in addressing the need(s) of specific minority citizens are given high priority. It is the goal of these grants to demonstrate successful behavior and/or system changes for those served by the project. Successful program models are then institutionalized with funding from other public and/or private sources. The commission funds three types of grants from the state’s general revenue fund: Demonstration Projects, Minority Health Month and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).
 Demonstration Grants - Projects are funded for up $200,000 per agency for 24 months. These projects focus on health promotion and disease prevention activities related to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, infant mortality, substance abuse and/or violence.
Minority Health Month Grants - Created in Ohio in 1989, Minority Health Month (MHM) is a 30-day, high visibility, wellness campaign conducted statewide in April of each year. In 2001 the month became a national minority health awareness campaign. Funded through mini-grants of $2,000 per agency the month has grown from 87 activities in 1989 to hundreds of events. Any city with more than 3 agencies funded for the month may apply for additional funds to conduct local kickoff activities. In even numbered years the Commission conducts a statewide “academy awards style” recognition of “heroes” and “sheroes” of minority health.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Grants (SLE) - Since 1995 the Commission has funded SLE grants to provide information, education and support services to all Ohioans without regard to socioeconomic status. Grants are funded for up to $14,000 per agency. Lupus Awareness Month is celebrated statewide in October of each year and a statewide capacity building conference is held each biennium.
External Initiatives
State Partnership Grant - The Commission is the recipient of a State Partnership grant from the DHHS Office of Minority Health. The focus of the SPG grant is workforce development for Certified Diabetes Educators from under represented communities and continued development of infrastructure to support and maintain health disparities elimination efforts in Ohio.
Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI). The Commission has a contractual relationship with the Ohio Department of Health to serve as a consultant to the Ryan White MAI Initiative. Two components of the project are outreach and training for health professionals and development of resource materials for the African American community.
The Ohio Health Disparities Collaborative. The collaborative consists of an array of diverse agencies, organizations and individuals that have an interest in eliminating health disparities. Health policies, resource development and advocacy constitute some of the primary activities of the Collaborative.
Upon assuming office in January 2007 Governor Ted Strickland reaffirmed his commitment to implement Turnaround Ohio. Included in this initiative is Healthy Ohio, designed to enhance prevention; address health disparities; improve care for vulnerable individuals; and measure progress and outcomes.
The Ohio Commission on Minority Health is staffed by 9 full time employees, their titles and duties are:
Executive Director:  Responsible for all administrative responsibilities of the agency and serves at the pleasure of an eighteen member board.
Associate Director: Serves as the operations officer for the Commission.
Fiscal Manager: Responsible for the fiscal operations of the Commission, including:develops budgets, budget forecasts, processes disbursements, etc.
Program Manager: Oversight of Commission grants programs.
Special Projects Coordinator: Primary contact person for service delivery aspects of external grants and contracts. Responsible for conducting two administrative compliance visits with projects, provides technical assistance and community development.
Program Specialist: Primary contact person for service delivery aspects of internal grants. Conducts two administrative compliance visits with projects, provides technical assistance to projects and community development for community based agencies/organizations.
Fiscal Specialist: Responsible for fiscal aspects of internal/external grants/contracts. Conducts two administrative compliance visits with projects, monitors expenditures and fiscal accountability; and provides technical assistance.
Word Processing Specialist: Oversight of electronic information; training for Commission staff and projects; designs Minority Health Month calendar of events and other printed materials.
Customer Service Representative: Answers telephones; processes information internal-external; coordinates logistics; administrative assistant to the Director/Associate Director.
Communications Manager: will be responsible for writing all Commission documents, public relations and communications. (This position will be filled in State Fiscal Year 2008).

Note: Additional information for this report can be accessed by logging on to the Ohio            Commission on Minority Health’s Website: http://www.mih.ohio.gov