Oregon Office of Multicultural Health and Services
Prepared by National Association of State
Offices of Minority Health (NASOMHS)
Tricia Tillman, MPH, Administrator
Oregon Health Authority
Office of Equity and Inclusion
800 N.E. Oregon Street, Suite 550
Portland, Oregon 97232
Phone: (971) 673-1285
Fax: (971) 673-1128
The Oregon Office of Multicultural Health and Services (OR-OMHS) was created within the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), Oregon Health Division, in 1993. In 1999, the Governor of Oregon issued an Executive Order creating the Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Health. The task force consisted of twenty-one members, including state legislators, governor’s policy staff, eight representatives of interest groups, advocacy commissions, and seven at-large positions. A report was submitted in November 2000 that has resulted in new legislation, an increase in state funding for the OR-OMHS, and opportunities for new partnerships with public and private sector partners. The Task Force Report also outlined health disparities that impact Oregon’s racially and ethnically diverse communities. It has been used to guide the efforts of the OR-OMHS specifically, and the Oregon Public Health Division generally.
The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) is currently undergoing a major reorganization that will result in greater integration of services and more efficient delivery of comprehensive services. An area of focus for the reorganization is raising cultural competency as a priority and on integrating it in all areas of health and human services provided by the State of Oregon Department of Human Services, such as behavioral health, child welfare, seniors and people with disability services, and Medicaid policy and program administration. Now in the DHS Director’s Office, OR-OMHS reports directly to the DHS Director and Deputy Director. The OR-OMHS Administrator will serve as a member of the DHS executive management team and will assist other DHS divisions to reduce and ultimately eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in the outcomes of clients served by the agency.
The mission of the Oregon Office of Multicultural Health and Services is to improve access to health services, health status, and health outcomes for racially and ethnically diverse communities and other under-served populations facing health disparities. This is achieved through the promotion of culturally and linguistically competent attitudes, practices, policies, and structures at all levels of the Oregon Department of Human Services.
Health Planning and Policy Development
· Provide consultation on policy development, access to health and human services, racial and ethnic health disparities, and strategies for involving culturally diverse communities. Areas of focus include program design, resource development, and program evaluation.
· Support program, policy, and workforce development in accordance with recommendations and findings from the Governor’s Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Health.
Technical Assistance and Training
· Develop techniques to increase the racially and ethnically diverse representation within the public health workforce as well as within policy and decision-making bodies.
· Convene cultural and linguistic competence training activities for employees of the state’s Public Health Division, other divisions within the Oregon Department of Human Services, and those working on behalf of diverse communities and/or groups facing health disparities within the State of Oregon.
· Provide technical assistance to professional, agency, and community-based efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities, increase the effectiveness of community outreach strategies, and promote healthy lifestyles and choices within racially and ethnically diverse communities in the state of Oregon.
Health Initiative/Program Services
· Administer the DHHS Office of Minority Health State Partnership Grant. Oregon OMHS’s project provides capacity-building support for existing community-based organizations that exercise innovative strategies to promote health in culturally appropriate ways. Demographic and other data will be collected to determine the number of people impacted by this project.
· Manage the Oregon Health Care Interpreter Program which certifies medical interpreters in Oregon. Oregon is one of three states (Massachusetts and Washington being the other two) that has a certification program that examines interpreter’s linguistic and interpreter proficiencies. This legislation was passed in Oregon’s Legislature in 2001.
· Develop and circulate an electronic newsletter (“Diversity Events Calendar”) that identifies opportunities to engage diverse communities, events, and programs to over 500 subscribers.
Impact of Program Activities on Communities
Through the work of OR-OMHS, new linkages and stronger partnerships have been established with local county health departments, human service providers, community- and faith-based organizations, and others working on behalf of communities facing health disparities to improve health outcomes. This is a critical element in understanding and finding solutions to end health disparities among Oregon’s diverse communities. OMHS has also provided agency leadership with respect to delivering health and human services within multicultural and culturally-specific communities. Public Health Division programs and policies have tried to integrate tailored and focused strategies to reach minority communities.
A thorough evaluation of OR-OMHS services and programs has not been conducted. However, OR-OMHS dedicates a portion of grant funding toward program evaluation. In addition, participant evaluation forms are completed when OMHS staff provide trainings or workshops on cultural competency, workforce development, and health disparities. Overall feedback from participants has been positive. Typically 85-90% of participants have rated trainings as valuable.
State of Oregon general fund, Title 19 Medicaid Match, the US Department of Health and Human (DHHS) Services Preventative Health Block Grant, DHHS Office of Minority Health State Partnership Grant, and fees from the Health Care Interpreters program. The overall budget for the OR-OMHS in the 2009-11 biennium is expected to be approximately $1.3 million.
Positions within the Oregon Office of Multicultural Health and Services include the Administrator, one manager, and five program staff.
Administrator, Office of Multicultural Health and Services
The OMHS Administrator provides support and management of all OR-OMHS projects, grants, and policies. Under the direction of the DHS Director, the OR-OMHS administrator will: 1) set policies for a culturally competent workforce; 2) establish and maintain partnerships with community-based organizations; and 3) develop policies and strategies to address racial and ethnic disparities within DHS programs.
Office of Multicultural Health and Services Staff
Four staff within OR-OMHS are classified as Operations and Policy Analysts and one Administrative Support Specialist. The analysts provide various duties such as: 1) conduct community outreach to Oregon’s racial and ethnic communities; 2) provide technical assistance and consultation to DHS programs and external partners; 3) convene, staff, and participate on a variety of advisory committees and work groups; 4) develop and administer grants; 5) analyze racial and ethnic outcome and service delivery data; 6) research and develop policies; and 7) provide trainings and presentations on health disparities and workforce development issues. The administrative support staff provides administrative, technical, and confidential support for the OR-OMHS