Steven Harris, MD, Deputy Secretary
Florida Department of Health and
Director, Office of Minority Health
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A00
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1746
Phone: (850) 245-4245
Fax: (850) 410-3027
Website: www.doh.state.fl.us/minority/

Organizational Structure/History
The Office of Minority Health (OMH) is located within the Florida Department of Health in the Office of the Secretary/Surgeon General. The Director of OMH reports directly to the DeputySecretary for Health.
·                                 1993  Florida’s Minority Health Improvement Act authorized the Minority Health Commission.
1995  The Commission was sunset.
·                                 1998  The Department of Health established the Office of Equal Opportunity and Minority Health.
·                                 2004  The Florida Legislature established the Office of Minority Health within the Department of Health, Section 20.43 (9) Florida Statute.
Purpose/Mission Statement
The Florida Office of Minority Health was established within the Department of Health (DOH) in 2004, Florida Statute 20.43(9).  The Office seeks to improve the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help to decrease disparities. The ultimate goal is to create a Florida that is free of racial and ethnic health disparities.
The Florida Office of Minority Health (FL-OMH) provides leadership in promoting, protecting and improving the health of all people in Florida. The Department’s vision is “A healthier future for the people of Florida.”
Program Focus/Activities
The focus of the FL-OMH program is to ensure that health disparities impacting Florida’s racial and ethnic populations are eliminated, and that individuals participating in programs administered by FL-OMH receive quality and equitable services
The office is responsible for the administration of the Reducing Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities: “Closing the Gap” Grant Program Section 381.7351-381.7356, Florida Statute, Florida Healthy People 2010 Program Section 381.736, Florida Statute, and the State Partnership Grant Program awarded from the federal Department of Health and Human Services in 2005.
“Closing the Gap” Grant Program provides funding in seven (7) health disparities – adult and child immunization, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, maternal and infant mortality, and oral health care - to assist communities in mobilizing and organizing their resources in support of effective and sustainable programs that will support the elimination of health disparities in racial and ethnic populations. This program encourages community-level interventions that address the causes of illness and death, increase public awareness of the impact of unhealthy lifestyles, educate communities about the importance of screening and testing, increase community-based health promotion activities, and increase culturally sensitive community-based disease prevention activities.
A total of 44 statewide community organizations are funded through the Closing the Gap initiative.   FY 2006-2008 over 20,000 referrals were made for cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes and maternal and infant mortality. Over 3, 334 screenings and diagnostic tests were conducted, i.e., mammography, clinical breast exams, Pap smear, cervical, colorectal, Prostate- Specific Antigen (PSAs) and, digital rectal exams. The report is located at: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Minority/index.htm under Closing the Gap Evaluation Report 2008.
The Florida Healthy People 2010 Program is administered through a collaborative effort with the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Minority Physician Networks (MPNs) - Access Health Solutions and Florida NetPass. This program works to educate health care professionals about the importance of non-traditional service delivery methods, to address language access issues, and to reduce healthcare disparities and increase access to culturally competent quality healthcare for beneficiaries in the Medicaid/MediPass program. Note: To provide better health outcomes at lower cost, the MPNs will become Medicaid HMOs in September 2009.
Clinical outcomes in 2008 for the MPNs were overall higher in performance outcomes when compared to other health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and shows member satisfaction to be higher overall. The mission of the MPNs is to develop and put forth a new and replicable care management model that will contain costs and improve quality while simultaneously serving as a platform for continuous improvement in the way minorities receive health care services in Florida.
The State Partnership Grant - In 2005, the FL-OMH was the recipient of a five (5) year State Partnership grant from the Federal Office of Minority Health. The grant assists the FL-OMH in facilitating the improvement of minority health issues to eliminate health disparities through the development of partnerships and technical assistance to identified organizations. Technical assistance in the areas of organizational development – sustainability, board development, personnel issues, grant research and development - are provided to organizations. These services enhance an organization’s infrastructure to improve its capacity to address and eliminate health disparities in Florida’s racial and ethnic populations. A statewide strategic plan has been developed for OMH with the supporting operational plan in drafted form under review. In addition, a cultural competency curriculum has been developed to for physicians, nurses and social workers, as well as non-clinical health professionals. 
Eliminating Health Disparities Statewide Initiatives
In July 2000 the State of Florida took an innovative step to address racial and ethnic health disparities when the Legislature passed HB 2339, the Patient Protection Act, also known as the Reducing Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Act, which initiated the Closing the Gap GrantProgram upon being signed into law. In addition, the Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Advisory Committee was created to support efforts related to this legislation. Since the inception of this program, the legislature has appropriated $41,027,500 to provide prevention, intervention education, screenings, and referral services to racial and ethnic populations. Funding to the program has also been used to:
·         Provide technical assistance and consultation to grantees to improve the ability of the projects to succeed in long-term efforts to build minority infrastructure in health programming and thus decrease the health disparities in racial and ethnic groups;
·         Conduct cultural competence trainings around the state for grantees, public health employees and officials and community partners;
·         Develop a web-based Cultural Competency Training, curriculum to train DOH personnel, providers and grantees;
·         Develop a Minority Health Profile that will provide county by county information on health disparities and social determinants of health;
·         Develop a Health Disparities Strategic Plan and Operational Plan that will enhance coordination and monitoring of the Department efforts to decrease Health Disparities;
·         Develop a web-based resource directory
·         Contract services to provide formative and summative evaluations for project grantees funded by the Closing the Gap initiative;
·         Provide yearly grantee technical assistance training workshops;
·         Provide statewide Closing the Gap/Minority Health Disparities Summits; and
·         To upgrade OMH website, speaker’s bureau and best practices webpage
Impact of Program Activities on Communities
The prevention and early intervention dimensions of projects are critical to the identification of health needs that may be addressed in early stages of development and treatment of diseases such as diabetes; breast, cervical, colon and prostate cancer; high blood pressure; elevated cholesterol; high glucose levels; HIV through counseling, testing, and referrals to nutrition and fitness education classes. Services delivered through the projects indicate that such interventions as demonstrated in the Closing the Gap Evaluation Report 2008 are significant factors in reducing emergency room dependency of minority populations. Through these project activities, the Department continues to make a positive impact in the health of minority populations. The report is located at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Minority/index.htm.
Level of Funding Sources
Year                 Federal              State                         

FY 2005
FY 2006
FY 2007
FY 2008
FY 2009

The Office of Minority Health currently has seven filled (6) positions:
·         Director - The director provides direction for the Florida Department of Health in the area of Minority Health, equity, and cultural competency.
·         Management Analyst Level 4 - Serves as the Program Coordinator for the Closing the Gap grant program.
·         Administrative Assistant III – Serves as the assistant to the Director and Office Manager for the Office of Minority Health.
·         Project Coordinator/Consultant – Grant Funded Position – Serves as the Project Coordinator/Consultant for the State Partnership Grant. 
·         Administrative Assistant I – Other Personal Services (OPS) – Grant Funded: Provides administrative support for the State Partnership Grant.
·         Government Operations Consultant 1– Other Personal Services (OPS) Grant Funded:
Provides support to the State Partnership Grant and organizational development services to selected organizations as stated in the State Partnership Grant.
Recent Publications
·         The Florida Healthy People 2010 Annual Report – December 2008. The report is located at: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Minority/index.htm under Healthy People 2010 Program Report.