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

Carol Gomez (Contact – Office is in transition)
Office of Multicultural Health
California Department of Public Health
Department of Health Care Services
1501 Capitol Avenue, Suite 6017
P.O. Box 997377 - MS 0022
Sacramento, CA 95899-7413
Phone: (916) 440-7558
Fax: (916) 440-7565

Organizational Structure/History
The Office of Multicultural Health (OMH) is a shared policy office within the Director’s Office of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).  The office serves as an advisor to both departments and a liaison between the departments and outside stakeholders. The office has a 25-member multicultural health advisory council that advises the departments and Directors on multicultural health issues.
The Office of Multicultural Health (CA-OMH) was created in August 1993 by Executive Order W-58-93 in 1999 was established in statute. Serving as a focal point for improved planning and coordination of activities and programs related to racial and ethnic populations in California, the primary mission of the CA-OMH is to work with parties, both internal and external to the CDHS, on ways to identify and reduce/eliminate existing health disparities. 
The Council on Multicultural Health (CMH) advises both CDPH and DHCS on improving access to quality health care and eliminating health disparities among California's diverse racial/ethnic communities. The CMH is composed of members from California's multiethnic communities that have diverse professional backgrounds. The CMH is committed to:
·         Assisting both CDPH and DHCS in developing culturally competent policies and programs; and
·         Serving as a conduit for the exchange of information with California's diverse racial and ethnic communities.
Purpose/Mission Statement
The mission of the California Office of Multicultural Health is to increase the capacity of CDPH and DHCS programs, health care providers, and ethnic/racial communities to reduce gaps in health status among and improve the quality of life of California’s diverse population groups.
Specifically, the CA-OMH:
▪ Creates and strengthens information networks between CDPH and DHCS 
   programs and ethnic/racial communities;
▪ Promotes community participation in decision-making related to health issues;
▪ Builds capacity through training, technical assistance and strategic planning;
▪ Supports the development and dissemination of information, strategies and 
   resources contributing to the improved health status of California communities; 
▪ Advocates for policies and practices that increase the effectiveness of CDPH 
 and DHCS services to diverse communities.
Program Focus/Activities
The CA-OMH is a policy office; although it does not administer programs, it carries out its responsibilities in the following key areas:
Health Planning and Policy Development
▪    Analyze legislation and policies from the perspective of their impact on 
     California's ethnic and racial populations; and,
▪    Utilize Strategic planning to implement and achieve CDPH and DHCS goals and   
      objectives to close the gaps in health status and access to care among the state's  
      diverse populations.
Technical Assistance and Training
▪    Serve as a resource to CDPH and DHCS programs on issues related to multicultural health and cultural and linguistic competency.
Health Initiatives/Program Services
▪    Consult and collaborate with CDPH and DHCS programs and other entities on strategies to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities.
Impact of Program Activities on Communities
    Promote culturally appropriate and linguistically accessible services for California’s multicultural communities; and
    Facilitate communication related to multicultural health between CDPH and DHCS programs and California's ethnic and racial communities. 
Program Evaluation
▪    Survey CDPH and DHCS programs and services directed at improving access and eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities in California.
Eliminating Health Disparities Statewide Initiatives
Health Information and Resource Website
The CA-OMH is undertaking the redesign and implementation of website for use by CDPH and DHCS that will assist internal and external entities to search and find health education, scientific publications, and other information/resources. It will also serve as a mechanism to send emergency and public health alert information to community based organizations and as a centralized site to locate information translated in various languages. 
Workgroup to Eliminate Disparities
The CA-OMH is a member of the Work Group to Eliminate Disparities (an Interagency Work Group), created by the State Interagency Team (SIT), to provide recommendations to the SIT to eliminate disparities and disproportionality within and across systems and make progress toward fairness, equity, and quality of services for California’s diverseracial, ethnic and cultural children, youth, and families.
California Disproportionality Project
The CA-OMH is a participant in the California Disproportionality Project, an Interagency collaboration with the Casey Family Programs and the Annie E. Casey Foundation to advance the work within 13 California counties to eliminate racial disproportionality and disparities in child welfare amongst African American and American Indian populations.
Progress and updates on key activities for CA-OMH is listed under the following major areas:
Improved Interagency Collaboration
Promoting interagency collaboration regarding multicultural issues of mutual concern.
  • Participant in the CDPH, Office of AIDS Interagency Statewide Work Group for resource and data mapping 
Effective Community Networks and Communications
Strengthening communication among CDPH and DHCS programs, health services providers, and ethnic/racial communities.
·         Launched the inaugural Multicultural Health Month in California in April 2009 in conjunction with National Minority Health Month, with a focus on preconception health. OMH will be releasing its inaugural poster, “A Healthy Baby Begins with You,” to raise awareness of the disproportionately high infant mortality rate among African-Americans and Pacific Islanders in California and to promote healthy behavioral change and positive lifestyle strategies
·         Participant in California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative Executive Committee discussions on maternal health disparities

Participant in CDPH, Adult Viral Hepatitis Strategic Planning process 

Promoting and facilitating diverse community participation in the design, implementation and evaluation of health programs.
  • Conduct quarterly meetings with the CMH to advise both CDPH and DHCS on improving access to quality health care and eliminating health disparities among California's diverse racial/ethnic communities 
Access to Health Care
Advocating for culturally appropriate and linguistically accessible health services to ethnic/racial communities.
  • Participant in DHCS, Medi-Cal Managed Care Medical Home Workgroup
 Quality Information and Resources 
Ensuring that health data are collected, analyzed and disseminated by race, ethnicity and primary language and used in the development of health policy. 
Current Activities
  • Participant in the CDPH, Data Access Policy Committee
  • Looking towards research on “Measuring Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare” and socio-economic determinants of health 
Advocating for Culturally Competent Policies and Practices 
Advocating for policies and practices that increase the effectiveness of services to diverse communities.
  • Contracted with University of California, Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities to develop a Cultural Competency Curriculum, toolkit and facilitators guide
  • Participant in the Regional California/Hawaii Public Health Leadership Institute working on a “change project for CDPH” on health inequities within a framework of social determinants of health
  • Participant in CDC Pandemic Influenza Consultation resulting in submission of article to the American Journal of Public Health on guidelines for Pandemic Influenza Response and Preparedness Among Vulnerable Populations
  • Provide technical assistance and consultation to CDPH, Emergency Preparedness Office on efforts to reach racial and ethnic communities throughout the state to educate them about what to do in an emergency
  • Presented and facilitated conversations on the Unnatural Causes Seven Part Series with CDPH/DHCS staff
  • Participant in Region IX Tribal Consultation 
Identifying the need for and support efforts to educate and recruit diverse health professionals.
  • Presented at University of Southern California Diversity in Healthcare Leadership Initiative
  • Presented at Stanford University 6th Annual Youth Leadership Conference on Asian and Islander and
  • Participant to the newly established CDPH, Office of Leadership and Workforce Development Visioning and Review Sessions
Level of Funding Sources
The CA-OMH receives funding by the federal Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant and the federal Office of Minority Health. The office utilizes all funds for staffing and support. The CA-OMH’s budget does not include the chief’s position, which is part of the department overhead budget.
Year                 Federal              State           Private             Total                  

FY 2005-06
FY 2006-07        
FY 2007-08
FY 2008-09
FY 2009-10

The CA-OMH staffing consists of the chief and 3.5 professionals. 
·       Laura Hardcastle, Chief - plans, organizes, and coordinates department-wide activities designed to reduce the gap in health status among California’s diverse populations. In this capacity, the Chief serves as a member of both CDHCS and CDPH executive staff and plays a significant role in the development of priorities, policies, and practices throughout both departments related to the health of diverse communities.
·       Mallika Rajapaksa, Research Scientist III, Steve Lubeck RS III (Retired Annuitant) – The RS III positions work on data and research in support of multicultural health policy and planning decisions, provide expertise to address complex issues such as disaggregated data, and to keep abreast with and/or participate in research related to trends, mortality, morbidity, prevalence, and incidence of disease amongst ethnic and racial populations. The RS III positions assist in the formulation of science-based health policy priorities, and develop strategies to advance those priorities.
·       David Bodick, Health Education Consultant III (HEC III) - The HEC III provides technical consultation and programmatic assistance on a broad range of health issues impacting racial and ethnic communities in California. The HEC is responsible for functions of CA-OMH in the areas of training, liaison with internal programs and external partners, and health policy development and analysis. In addition, the HEC III provides support to the CMH.
·       Carol Gomez, Staff Services Analyst (SSA) - The SSA performs administrative duties in support of CA-OMH, including personnel transactions, fiscal preparation and monitoring, contract development, and service authorizations. The SSA reviews and analyzes department policies and legislation related to multicultural health. In addition, the SSA provides support to the CMH.