Office of Minority Health
Prepared by National Association of State
Offices of Minority Health (NASOMH)
Joseph Palm, Chief
Office of Minority Health
Division of Community & Public Health
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
930 Wildwood Drive-P.O. Box 570
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Phone: (573) 571-6064
Fax: (573) 522-1599
Email: joseph.palm@health.mo.gov
Website: www.health.mo.gov
Organizational Structure/History
In April 1987, State Representative Mary Groves Bland met with Dr. Robert Harman, then director of the Missouri Department of Health, regarding the establishment of the Minority Health Issues Task Force. As a direct result of this meeting, the first Department of Health Minority Health Issues Task Force, consisting of community representatives and department employees, was appointed in May 1987.
In January 1988, the Minority Health Issues Task Force forwarded two formal recommendations to the Director of the Missouri Department of Health:
·         Establish an Office of Minority Health within the Missouri Department of Health; and
·         Reduce infant mortality in black and other minority populations, utilizing the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Fathers, Healthy Babies health education project concept.
Both of these recommendations were accepted and have been implemented within the Missouri Department of Health. Representative Bland sponsored House Bill 1565 establishing the Missouri Office of Minority Health, which was signed into law by the Missouri Governor John Ashcroft in June 1988.
The Office of Minority Health has a staff of seven; it is currently seated in the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Division of Community and Public Health’s Director’s Office.
Purpose/Mission Statement
The mission of the Office is to eliminate health disparities through assertive leadership, active advocacy supporting and visible interaction with minority communities in Missouri.
The vision of the Office of Minority Health is that Missouri is a stat where cultural diversity is embraced and valued, where communities of color thrive, living healthy productive lives, free of socio-economic and cultural disparities.
Minority Health Advisory Committee (MHAC)
This committee was originally formed in response to the 1985 Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health. It is comprised of 6 regional alliances statewide and a 24 member state board. The Minority Health Advisory Committee (MHAC) has been successful in creating an avenue to generate input and activity at the local level, as well as to provide a bridge of communication between the minority community and Department of Health and Senior Services. The current MHAC configuration establishes representation from both rural and urban geographic areas on the MHAC Board and also allows for equitable representation of African Americans, Latin/Hispanic Americans, Asian/Pacific Islander Americans and Native Americans. Three priority action areas have been established and are as follows: Obesity, HIV/AIDS, and Diabetes.
Program Focus/Activities
Governor's Commission on Special Health, Psychological and Social Needs of Minority Older Individuals
A 14 member commission to address the special health, psychological and social needs of minority elderly. The commission produces a yearly report which states the needs of Missouri’s minority elderly as compared to the older population at large and makes recommendations based on their findings. In preparing this report, the commission shall solicit and consider the input of individuals and organizations representing the concerns of the minority older population. Currently, resumes have been submitted to the Governor’s office for review and recommendations. 
The commission conducts an outreach program that provides information to minority older Missourians about health, psychological and social problems experienced by minority older individuals and available programs to address those problems.
Paula J. Carter Center on Minority Health and Aging
In 1997 the Missouri Department of Health, Office of Minority Health, established this center on the campus of Lincoln University. Lincoln University is Missouri's only historically Black 1890 Land Grant institution. The Center's leadership vision and mission are accomplished through education, training, applied research, policy analysis, and the use of technology as strategic tools. Current projects include a nutrition program for rural minority communities, and a diabetes health promotions project. The Center’s representatives are providing education and information on self management of Diabetes. 
Emergency Response Plan to HIV/AIDS in the African-American Community
In cooperation with the Governor’s Office and Missouri Department of Health’s Section of STD/HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Services, an emergency response plan with goals, objectives, strategies and interventions was funded in August 2001. Activities area focused developing community capacity to organize and collaborate in relation to stemming the growth of new HIV infections in the African American. This unit has also been a recipient of the State and Territorial Minority HIV/AIDS Capacity Building Demonstration Grant. Specific unit products include a Web-Based Minority Training Program, Speakers Bureau, Capacity Building Training Seminars, Age and Gender Specific Service Inventories, Annual HIV/AIDS Status Reports, and State and Local Advisory Groups.

Obesity Prevention Project
The Office awarded nine community grants totaling $200,000 to local organizations to develop obesity prevention and nutrition interventions for St. Louis and Kansas City metropolitan areas and the Central region of the state. Seven of these grants were awarded the first round with three renewal periods. The second round of Request for Proposals (RFP) will be available soon.
African-American Infant Mortality Prevention Initiative
This initiative is supported by federal funding for a 5-year project. Funds will be utilized to provide coordination and planning with current “healthy birth outcomes” providers. The project coordinator will also oversee the development of community health education network
Anticipated Outcomes
·       Increased involvement of minorities in identifying and implementing strategies to address their health needs;
·       A shared and improved communication network on minority health issues, MHAC activities internally (DHSS) and between DHSS external partners;
·       Effective analysis of federal and state legislation for its impact on the health status of minorities;
·       DHSS that has awareness of the existence and implications of health disparities, staff committed to the reduction of these disparities, and an active involvement of minorities at the policy making level;
·       Increased funding provided to minority community based health organizations for the reduction of health disparities; and
·       Facilitate DHSS goals and objectives aimed at disparity reduction.
Eliminating Health Disparities Statewide Initiatives
The Missouri Disparities Elimination Plan (MDEP) will be the roadmap to addressing disparities and establishing coordinative community leaders. Distinct strategies will be delineated which encompass the following concepts:
·         Policy change (internal and external), Advocacy and Leadership; 
·         Information Dissemination, Promising Practices and Models, and Resources; and 
·         Development and Capacity Building.
Level of Funding Sources
Year                 Federal              State             Private             Total   

FY 2005
FY 2006        
FY 2007
FY 2008
FY 2009
FY 2010

  • FTE: 8.33
  • Roles and Responsibilities:
                   (i)     Chief
     This position is responsible for the overall planning, development, and administration of Office of Minority Health initiatives. The primary duties include establishing budget priorities, departmental and programmatic strategic planning; identification and reporting of minority health and minority senior needs; and community capacity building and outreach. Duties will require collaboration with agency programs, local health departments, minority health alliances, and community-based organizations. 
Assistant Chief (Public Health Manager I)  
The primary duties of this position include supervising the community staff in Jefferson City and St. Louis; developing and tracking annual budget and other financial agreements; monitoring office contracts and agreements; assisting the Chief in preparing office reports, newsletters, and presentations as required; and interacting extensively with minority groups throughout the state to collect culturally relevant data related to minority health and aging issues.
                 (ii)     Health Program Representative III
Provide technical assistance to the Minority Health Alliances in Eastern, Southwest and Northeast regions of the state and to help address minority health issues facing minority and the underserved populations. Assist in the coordination and collaboration of programs and projects with the community and faith based organizations. Monitor seven statewide obesity prevention contracts.
                (iii)     Health Program Representative III/HIV Coordinator
Primary duties are to develop and implement strategies to eliminate disparate rate of HIV disease infection in the African American community. This would include engaging the community in regional planning efforts, tracking progress through statistical analysis, contracting with community-based organizations and developing multi-media plans. Contract monitor for two HIV/AIDS contracts in St. Louis and Kansas City.
                (iv)     Health Program Representative III
     Assist and empower Hispanic community based organizations with addressing health care issues and barriers in the rural and metropolitan areas. Assist in formulating culturally appropriate and culturally sensitive prevention and health promotion strategies. Develop outreach strategies to disseminate health education materials to the Hispanic populations.
Health Program Representative III/Nurse, Infant Mortality Coordinator
Responsibilites include convening an African-American Infant Mortality Prevention Task Force with representation from the at-risk population, minority service entities, infant mortality prevention organizations, neonatalogists, and other interested parties. Develop an awareness campaign designed for community implementation. Develop partnerships and collaborations with agencies, community and faith based organizations. Create the Infant Mortality Education and Prevention Neighborhood Network to provide prenatal and perinatal health education in areas with infant death rates in excess of the national average. Create a training institute for community-based organizations (i.e., churches, clubs, informal associations or groups, etc.) and health professionals.
                  (v)     Administrative Office Support Assistant
Support office staff and Minority Health Advisory Committee; serve as office Fiscal Manager, process and track office expenditures; process contract invoices; serve as personnel contact; and assist office with special projects.
Project Specialist (part-time) – provide support for Ad Hoc Task Force to complete Statewide Eliminating Health Disparities Plan for Missouri.
Project Specialist (part-time) – develop a cultural competency needs self assessment tool for the Department of Health and Senior Services.