Idaho State Office of Rural Health and Primary Care
Prepared by National Association of State
Offices of Minority Health (NASOMH) 

Jamie Lou Delavan, Cultural Liaison
Health Equity Program Specialist Project Filter
Idaho's Commercial Tobacco Prevention
 Control Program, and
Coordinated Chronic Disease Programs
Bureau of Community & Environmental Health Idaho Department of Health & Welfare
450 W State Street, 6th Floor - POB 83720;
Boise, ID 83720-0036
Phone: (208) 334.0643
Fax: (208) 334.6573
Cell: (208) 850.0513

Organizational Structure/History
Idaho does not have a designated state office of minority health, multicultural health, or health disparities. Although data and programs exist inside and outside of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, there is no central repository for identifying, cataloguing, or disseminating minority health or health disparities data and information. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare conducts its minority health and health disparities activities through the State Office of Rural Health & Primary Care (SORH), located within the Bureau of Health Planning and Resource Development in the Division of Health.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare does not allocate financial resources specifically for state minority health or health disparities activities; however it does support health disparities activities through the budgets of its public health divisions where minority health or health disparities activities are conducted.
Program Focus/Activities
Linguistic Services in Idaho’s Healthcare System
The SORH conducted an assessment of healthcare providers in 2006 in order to determine the extent to which they perceive healthcare organizations in Idaho, provide linguistically appropriate healthcare, and to gauge their perceptions regarding limited English proficiency as a barrier to health care for their clients. The survey was distributed to 37 acute care hospitals, 46 rural health clinics, and 10 federally qualified health centers across the state, with a 61% response rate. The assessment identified a need for policy development on providing medical interpretive services, staff orientation regarding linguistic service requirements, and cultural sensitivity training at participating healthcare facilities.
Spanish-Speaking Patients Healthcare Needs
In 2007, the SORH conducted two Spanish-speaking focus groups to assess the perceptions of healthcare users with limited English proficiency. Focus group participants were asked about their perspectives regarding the extent to which their limited English proficiency created a barrier to accessing or receiving healthcare in Idaho. Questions were written in both English and Spanish. Focus group results revealed that cultural competency training is needed at healthcare facilities, as well as a training module on the differences in healthcare delivery to clients with limited English proficiency. Focus group participants also expressed a need for translation of healthcare forms into Spanish and other relevant foreign languages.
Idaho Critical Access Hospitals- Enhancing Language Services and Cultural Sensitivity
The SORH utilizes the federal Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility grant program to fulfill the need for culturally and linguistically appropriate health services at critical access hospitals. Through this grant program, hospitals can access the resources, staff training and support they need to deliver appropriate, effective health services for patients with limited English proficiency.
In 2008 and 2009, the SORH sponsored a two-day qualification courses for interpreters in healthcare in various rural Idaho communities. The SORH also sponsored a skill-building workshop for medical interpreters in June 2009 and a one-hour workshop for clinicians on working with interpreters in two rural communities in May 2009.
Eliminating Health Disparities Statewide Initiatives
Idaho does not currently have a State Health Disparities Plan.
Level of Funding Sources
Year                 Federal              State            Private  

FY 2006
FY 2007     
FY 2008     
FY 2009

During the one-year (2006-2007) federal Office of Minority Health infrastructure building project, 0.25 FTE’s of staff time was dedicated to the project to successfully complete activities and meet federal reporting requirements. Currently, there is no dedicated funding or personnel for minority or multicultural health activities. 
Recent Publications
·           “Profile of Idaho Health Disparities”
·           “Determining the Need and Effectiveness of Current Linguistic Services in Idaho’s             Healthcare System”
·           “Identifying Perspectives on Barriers and Needs of Spanish Language Speakers in
       Idaho’s Healthcare System”