Office of Minority Health
Prepared by National Association of State
Offices of Minority Health (NASOMH)
Lisa Sockabasin, Director
Office of Minority Health
Maine Department of Health and
Human Services State House Station 11
Human Services State House Station 11
286 Water Street, 8th Floor
Augusta, ME 04333-0011
Phone: (207) 287-3266
Fax: (207) 287-9058
The Office of Minority Health was created as part of LD 1642, “An Act to Further the Transition to the New Department of Health and Human Services,” which was enacted on July 17, 2005 and signed by the Governor on June 20, 2005.
To provide support to Maine Center of Disease Control programs, Non-Governmental organizations and Community Partners in addressing the needs of ethnic, racial and linguistic minorities in Maine. The Office’s vision - promote health and wellness in Maine’s racial and ethnic minority communities.
- Partner and collaborate with State-wide agencies.
- Build the internal capacity of Maine Center for Disease Control programs in a comprehensive manner so it will reflect our changing demographics.
- Promote the provision of meaningful, effective culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
- Identify, generate, attract and maximize resources in the state.
- Maintain and disseminate data on racial, ethnic and linguistic minority communities in the State of Maine.
- Offer training, education and technical assistance to ethnic, racial and linguistic minorities.
- Build the capacity of the minority communities by supporting leadership development and self-sufficient initiatives.
- Promote mutual exchanges, understanding, and cooperation to and within ethnic, racial and linguistic minorities.
- Provide a platform for stakeholders to connect, share and network in new, unique, and rewarding ways.
- Value the strengths of the contributions of the ethnic, racial and linguistic minority communities.
- Honor and respect the differences between all ethnic, racial and minority communities.
- Every “voice” in Maine should be heard.
- Uphold the civil and human rights of the ethnic, racial and linguistic minority communities.
- Treat all stakeholders with cultural sensitivity.
- Value and support departmental staff as critical connections to our stakeholders.
- Commit to keeping abreast of best practices and national “trends.”
- Balance relationships, processes and results.
- To use existing resources and networks to leverage change and progress.
- To seek out collaborative initiative for maximum success.
Ongoing Office Projects
The Office of Minority Health conducted an assessment of state health department (Maine CDC) efforts to eliminate health disparities. The Office of Minority Health worked with the Division of Chronic Disease within the Maine CDC to develop a database in order to capture information on programs within the health department regarding efforts and initiatives focused on eliminating health disparities. The database serves as inventory of previous and current health department disparities efforts and can be used as a tool to examine best practices and lessons learned from the variety of public health programs. The database can also be used as a tool for potential collaboration from within the health department. In addition, the Office of Minority Health assisted in the creation of the “Health Disparities Team” consisting of representation from each division within the Maine CDC.
Maine CDC Health Disparities Team
The Office of Minority Health co-chairs and advises the Maine CDC Health Disparities Team on issues related to racial and ethnic minority health disparities. The Team meets monthly to discuss cross-cutting challenges at the health department related to the elimination of health disparities. The Team offers guidance, recommendations, best practice considerations, and support to health department programs, offices, and divisions..
The Office of Minority Health co-chairs and advises the Maine CDC Health Disparities Team on issues related to racial and ethnic minority health disparities. The Team meets monthly to discuss cross-cutting challenges at the health department related to the elimination of health disparities. The Team offers guidance, recommendations, best practice considerations, and support to health department programs, offices, and divisions. The Mission of the Maine CDC Health Disparities workgroup: To improve health equity and eliminate disparities for the people of Maine . Goal: To enhance performance of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s programs in order to measurably improve at state and local levels the health of populations experiencing health disparities.
The Office of Minority Health, Maine CDC presently has one contract in place with the Maliseet Tribal Nation. This contract serves to reach each of the 5 Maine tribal communities (Passamaquoddy Pleasant Point, Passamaquoddy Indian Township , Penobscot, Maliseet and Mic Mac). The contract was established to assist the Maine Tribes in the creation of a tribal public health infrastructure. There are two tribal public health liaisons that coordinate public health activities and address issues such as cardiovascular health, smoking cessation, and nutrition. The liaisons are responsible for the creation of Maine ’s 1st Intertribal Health Newsletter that reaches members from each of the Maine Tribes. The liaisons also serve as a primary contact and conduit for information for the Maine CDC. The liaisons work closely with Maine CDC programs on both state- and tribal-wide efforts.
In addition, the Maine Office of Minority Health is fortunate to have strong partnerships with both internal and external entities. Maine ’s OMH continues to work with the state Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) Program on a new grant opportunity. The USDA awarded the Maine CDC’s WIC Program with a multi-year grant that will allow for cultural and linguistic training to all staff and contract staff to the WIC program. A basic training was offered by the OMH for all state and local WIC staff on the subject of cultural and linguistic competency. The grant “Revitalizing Nutrition Education through Skill Building for Cultural and Linguistic Competence” has four project goals. The goals include: 1.) Staff Competence: Increase cultural and linguistic competence knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and skills among state and local agency WIC staff to improve their capacity to conduct value-enhanced nutrition assessments. 2.) Environment: Improve the organizational policies and environments in WIC state and local agencies that integrate cultural and linguistic competence into daily WIC operations. 3.) Client Satisfaction: Increase WIC participant satisfaction with the cultural and linguistic context in which nutrition assessment is conducted. 4.) Sustainability: Improve the structures, policies and practices in WIC state and local agencies that support the organizational norm of providing cultural and linguistic appropriate WIC services.
Lastly, the Maine Office of Minority Health is currently working with Maine CDC’s Maternal Child Health Title V Program on a project funded by the Federal SAMHSA program. The project is called Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Children’s Health). The grant funding received from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) had 32 applicants, Maine was one of six (6) states awarded funding. Maine will receive $916,000 per year for 5 years for a total of $4,580,000. Project LAUNCH’s purpose is to implement a system of care (SOC) that draws upon Maine’s commitment to early intervention as a means of increasing health, wellness and prevention for at-risk children 0-8 and their families. State goals build upon and enhance other early intervention goals of the Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) and reflect Maine ’s Department of Health and Human Service’s commitment to offering unified service delivery through a public health approach.
The Office has financial resources of approximately $210,405 in federal funding.