Office of Multicultural Health
Prepared by National Association of State
Offices of Minority Health (NASOMH) 

Janice Edmunds-Wells, MSW, Executive Director
Office of Minority Health and Multicultural Health
Iowa Department of Public Health
Lucas State Office Building
321 East 12th Street, 4th Floor
Des Moines, Iowa   50319-0015
Phone: (515) 281-4904
Fax: (515) 242-6384     
Website: _default.asp


Organizational Structure/History
The Office of Multicultural Health was codified as an established office by the 2006 Omnibus Bill, House File 2734, Section 76, new section 135.12. The office is located within the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), Division of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention.
Purpose/Mission Statement
The Iowa Department of Public Health, Office of Multicultural Health, (IA-OMH) exists to actively promote and facilitate “health equity” for Iowa’s multicultural communities.   The office envisions the state of Iowa, as one where there will be 100 percent health care access and zero percent health disparity for Iowa’s multicultural communities.
The definition of multicultural is to be inclusive of communities of racial, ethnic and/or linguistic diversity. The mission, vision and practices of the IDPH Office of Multicultural Health are instructed by the following “truths:”
  • IA-OMH must be a public health advocate for Iowa’s multicultural communities, of whom many are disenfranchised or unempowered;
  • IA-OMH must provide public health leadership regarding existing or potential issues or practices that can or could affect the health status of multicultural individuals and families, immigrant and refugees in the state of Iowa;
  • IA-OMH must help create a climate of “inclusiveness” in the public health sector on state, regional and local levels by partnering with its multicultural constituents to help them improve their collective health status;
  • IA-OMH must actively promote continuous cultural competency in health care practice and education throughout Iowa’s public health care sector; and
  • IA-OMH must be allocated sustained and adequate resources to build an infrastructure that will enable it to meet its current charge and the challenges of the future. 
Program Focus/Activities
The major program activities and areas of the IA-OMH are education, health planning/policy development, health promotion/disease prevention, training/technical assistance and data evaluation.
Infrastructure Building
During the FY 07 funding period, IDPH/OMH received funds from DHHS/OMH for Infrastructure building. These funds were granted to expand capacity and build the infrastructure of a multicultural health network in Iowa. The objectives were three fold: 1) complete a comprehensive assessment and develop a strategic plan for the IA-OMH that will meet the health needs of Iowa’s minority, immigrant and refugee residents now and into the future. This plan was completed in 2007. 2) Strengthen existing multicultural health coalitions within the public health regions in Iowa and 3) re-establish an IA-OMH Advisory Council. The advisory council was re-established upon the completion of the administrative rules process spring of 2008.
Strategic Planning – Key representatives from around the state helped chart a strategic map for the IA- OMH staff and its constituents to travel during the next 3-5 years as the office strengthens its infrastructure and continues to meet its mission. This project plan was completed in April 2007. Statewide distribution of 500 hard copies of the plan have been made to constituents, legislators, program contractors, faith based and community based agencies, IDPH staff and programs. The plan was posted plan to the IDPH website in the spring of 2008. A second printing of the plan will took place in the summer of 2008.
On-going activities continue to address strengthening of existing multicultural health coalitions. The regional minority health coalition concept has never been implemented in Iowa; however county coalitions have been previously established. Both aspects of coalition building have yielded increase partnerships and network establishments that are working to achieve this goal.
The Advisory Council began its duties in the fall of 2008. Prior to the re-establishment of the council, administrative rules had to be approved by the Attorney Generals office and written into statue. The rules have been adopted by the state board of health with the effective date July 2008. . Members were be appointed by the Director of Public Health in 2008.
Workshop and Training Programs
In response to training needs identified by statewide community based organizations, public health programming and academic institutions, IA-OMH provides cultural diversity, awareness, and sensitivity trainings. Topics are inclusive of, but not limited to, program evaluation, cross-cultural communication, acculturation and barriers to health care systems, and delivery of services. Technical assistance and trainings are also provided to address community partnership building, strategic planning, culturally relevant interventions, and outreach. Seventy five activities were completed in 2007.
Impact of Program Activities on Communities/Program Evaluation
·         August 2007 IA-OMH held a two-day Cultural Competency training with Jose Reyes, Ed.D for IDPH employees. This first of its kind training allowed participants of employment status ranging from division and bureau chiefs to support staff. 
·         Recruitment and retention efforts of a diverse workforce was successful in securing a programmer forIA-OMH. This intern is also pursuing a dual masters public health graduate degree.
·         IA-OMH developed and disseminated 500 copies of a program brochure.
·         In 2008 the lead staff position was upgraded from consultant to ext officer
·         IA-OMH secured a grant from the Region VII office, and the funds were utilized for a one – day African Americans Women’s’ Health summit targeting females ages 14 – 18. In April 2008, the summit focus was STD, HIV/AIDS education and awareness, individual skill building for risk reduction, positive self- esteem building and positive life-style choices.
·         Staff serve on the Iowa Dept. of Public Health (IDPH), including senior staff, the Division of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention management team, and an integrated committee.
·         IA-OMH programming is averaging one to two new community partners per month.
·         Staff continue to partner with the Kansas Office of Health Disparities on various program operations, resources, and technical assistance strategies. In 2008 at the  “Healthy Cultures-Healthy Kansas: Moving Forward” conference and the Office presented on addressing health disparities through collaboration, commitment and creativity.
·         spring semester 2008 the IA-OMH consultant was appointed and serves as Adjunct Professor for Des Moines University, teaching Public Health & Policy: Cultural Awareness for graduate students, and University of Northern Iowa for undergraduates.
·         The Executive Officer serves as facilitator/training staff for Healthy Child Care Iowa, and twice a year provides cultural awareness in child care through the Iowa Training Project of Child Care Nurse Consultants.
·         Staff continue to partner and maintain on-going communications with Region VII HIV/AIDS, Women’s Health, OMH, Regional Health Administer, and Deputy Regional Health Administrator staff members. The relationship has been enhanced with increased communication, technical assistance, and funding and support services.
·         Staff continue to serve on several advisory boards and committees that are inclusive of, but not limited to, the Global Health and Project Export advisory boards for the University of Northern Iowa, the Diversity Committee for the University of Iowa, and chair of the Iowa Minority Recruitment, Education & Advocacy on Careers in Health Network.
·         In 2007 IA-OMH staff was appointed to and serves on the National Association of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) African American Advisory Committee, Strategic Prioritization and Partnership Building Subcommittee.
Eliminating Health Disparities Statewide Initiatives
TheIowa Office of Multicultural Health’s plan for eliminating health disparities includes the following goals, objectives, and activities that will be established for implementation:
1. Implement the IA-OMH strategic initiatives as outlined in the plan;
2. Establish a multicultural health advisory council in administrative rules; and
3. Create a regional IA-OMH presence through coalition building.
Level of Funding Sources
Year                 Federal              State             Private             

FY 2006        
FY 2007
FY 2008
FY 2009

There are currently two staff persons assigned to the IDPH Office of Multicultural Health. The Executive Officer for the office is lead staff and responsible for all program policies, procedures, technical assistance, training and program implementation. The Executive Officer also provides some program coordination for the refugee health program. The Consultant serves as part of the division management team and department senior staff. The office has no sustained budget funding; however the salary for the consultant staff person is funded 95% through the HRSA Title V block grant funding and 5% through DHHS, Office of Refugee Resettlement funds. The Refugee Health Program is also housed within the OMH and 100% of the Refugee Health Specialist salary is through DHHS Administration of Children and Families Office of Refugee Resettlement funding.