RHECs can share information on great things that the RHEC or others are doing to eliminate health disparities - projects such as the ACA Outreach, Blog Posts, Newsletters, Links (e.g., https://www.thinkculturalhealth.hhs.gov/Content/clas.asp, http://www.healthcare.gov/index.html), as well as other relevant programs and sites.

WEBINAR: Latino Youth & Culturally Informed Care: Valuable Models Addressing Health, Well-being and Violence Prevention

posted Sep 25, 2018, 10:58 AM by daniel yoo

Thursday, September 27
2:00 – 3:00 pm ET

With funding support from OMH, this webinar will highlight valuable models of culturally informed violence prevention, physical, and mental health programming for young Latinos.

UnidosUS Affiliate Latino Network in Portland, Oregon will share about its local violence prevention efforts and utilization of the UnidosUS Men of Action program for young men.

Latino Network—in partnership with the Multnomah County Department of Juvenile Justice—runs the Community Healing Initiative and Early Intervention Community Healing Initiative to prevent and reduce youth violence, decrease rates of juvenile justice involvement, and increase community safety.

Register here.

NPA and RHECs highlighted in APHA's 'The Nation's Health'

posted Sep 5, 2018, 6:19 PM by daniel yoo

The work of the RHECs is featured in a special section of the September 2018 issue of the American Public Health Association's The Nation's Health. 

The issue features four articles that highlight the RHECs' work to advance health equity. Below are links and descriptions.

Cultural competency tool to be offered in five languages
The Southeastern Health Equity Council recently translated its Cultural Competency Resource Guide from English into four languages – Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese – and will release the new guides this year with the goal of curbing disparities in Southern communities.

North Carolina county advancing equity through collective impact tool
In Buncombe County, NC, public health workers are going upstream to tackle health disparities between black and white residents. To get there, local health workers are using the collective impact model, a health equity tool that helps leverage and create partnerships across sectors toward a common agenda. The tool is particularly apt at mobilizing action that is both sustainable and community-driven – two key factors when trying to impact social determinants that underlie health disparities.

New England region using data to drive health equity forward
The New England Regional Health Equity Council’s Equity Profile and Call to Action take a deep dive into the data, which reveals that even the healthiest states can be home to significant health disparities. The Equity Profile identified significant disparities across New England in both health outcomes and access to care.

Equity councils cross sectors to target roots of disparities: Partnerships elevate state, local work
This October in Washington, DC, representatives from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) will gather to discuss attracting more students into nursing. One of the main organizations behind the event is the Mid-Atlantic Regional Health Equity Council – one of 10 independent, cross-sector councils working to eliminate health disparities at the grassroots level.

Culturally Appropriate Mental Health Care to Address American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Mental Health Disparities

posted Aug 3, 2018, 1:03 PM by daniel yoo   [ updated Aug 3, 2018, 4:27 PM ]

Posted by Sean A. Bear, BA, CADC, Co-Director, National American Indian and Alaska Native Addiction Technology Transfer Center, University of Iowa, and AI/AN Caucus Member 

Non-Hispanic American Indian and Native American (AI/AN) adults and children are at greater risk than all other racial groups of experiencing poor mental health outcomes and unmet medical and mental healthcare needs. For instance, suicide rates for AI/AN adults and youth are higher than the national average

For native people, cultural differences play a crucial role in this gap as well as in the misdiagnosis. An accurate assessment is not possible without intimate knowledge of another culture; such knowledge cannot always be learned in the present educational systems, many of which do not share the same historical accounts or knowledge tribal systems have been teaching for thousands of years. 

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) states that understanding a culture means comprehending and applying that culture’s beliefs, ceremonial rituals, and customs. With the Native American culture, this would not be possible without the actual time and tutelage of an American Indian or First Nations Healer and Spiritual Person, who would be most qualified to provide the appropriate expertise. In order for native-serving providers to meet the standards set forth in the DSM-5, they must learn from outside of the Western medical education system. 

Few mental health diagnostic tools, assessments, or treatments have been studied in AI/AN communities. For instance, few mental health treatment models apply spiritual phenomena—such as spirits, ghosts, or healing—but this is an area common within Native American tribes. 

Native Americans also experience historical trauma that produces negative impacts on mental health and wellbeing and that can be passed down through generations both socially and genetically. Native Americans can experience historical loss symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance use disorders) as a result of the cross-generational transmission of trauma from historical losses (e.g., loss of land and population). Historical trauma must be taken into account in mental health assessments of native clients and patients. When considering historical trauma, we should be reminded that the Native American Religious Freedom Act was passed only in 1978, meaning that native people in the United States have only legally been able to practice our ceremonial ways for the past 40 years. 

Discrimination also contributes to poor mental health outcomes and persists among AI/AN communities. One example is what goes on in many community stores: Native people regularly experience looks of distrust and are followed from aisle to aisle. People from other cultures treat them with disgust and contempt. This is done not only by non-natives but also by those within the tribal community who have become assimilated to the Euro-American philosophy that blood quantum and being enrolled in a tribe is a traditional practice. 

Looking at mental health disparities, we must remember to consider cultural differences between patients and providers, diagnostic tools, discrimination, and historical and continued trauma. Although some of these topics are not heard by many, they are important in the holistic care that is needed for tribal communities and members throughout the country. If we all seek true peace in and among all peoples, we must look into the possible future of mankind and the planet but also into the depths of ourselves, which is where our healing begins.

Mental Health Awareness Among Communities of Color

posted Jul 30, 2018, 2:41 PM by daniel yoo

As part of our commemoration of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, NPA partners SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity Senior Public Health Analyst Roslyn Holliday Moore and OMH Division of Policy and Data Public Health Advisor Juliet Bui posted Mental Health Awareness Among Communities of Color: A Cornerstone of Health and Wellness. In the blog post, Ms. Moore and Ms. Bui discuss mental health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities and policies and strategies at the federal, state, and community levels to address such disparities. Read the blog post here.

August 16 NPA/NHMA Webinar Recording: Diversifying the Health Workforce for an Equitable Future

posted Jul 3, 2018, 8:17 AM by daniel yoo   [ updated Aug 23, 2018, 3:19 PM by Tech Support ]

Presented by the National Hispanic Medical Association and the NPA, the August 16 webinar highlighted strategies to diversify the health workforce in order to create a more equitable future for all. Increasing the diversity of the health workforce can help to improve access to care in underserved communities; increase patient choice, satisfaction, and health outcomes; and enhance healthcare quality for vulnerable populations. Presenters shared their experiences, recommendations, and tools for increasing the diversity of the health workforce to meet the needs of communities of color. 

View the webinar recording here: https://explorepsa.adobeconnect.com/p2n04hrpknvm/

To view/download the webinar transcript and the presentation slides (PDF format), please click on the links below.

National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA) Blog: Fostering Partnerships to Advance Health Equity Across the Heartland Regional Health Equity Council (RHEC VII)

posted Jun 27, 2018, 1:58 PM by Tech Support   [ updated Jul 3, 2018, 8:26 AM by daniel yoo ]

An Interview with RHEC VII’s Partnership Committee Co-Chair, Janelle Ali-Dinar, PhD

Introduction: The Heartland Regional Health Equity Council (RHEC VII) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Region VII Midwestern Public Health Training Center (Region VII MPHTC) to advance health equity across the region. RHEC VII is one of 10 regional health equity councils (RHEC) formed in 2011 as part of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA). With 30 volunteer members from various sectors, RHEC VII encompasses Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. In this blog post, we interview Dr. Janelle Ali-Dinar, PhD, who co-chairs RHEC VII’s Partnership Committee about the committee and the MOU. We discuss why and how this partnership was developed and what the partners hope to achieve.

phy: Dr. Ali-Dinar, PhD, serves on the Nebraska Department of Health Human Services (DHHS) Minority Health Council , the Nebraska Preventive Health Advisory Committee, and co-chairs RHEC 
artnership Committee.

1. Please tell us more about RHEC VII’s Partnership Committee.
RHEC VII wants our work to set the tone for the nation in developing healthier communities, especially for our most vulnerable populations. The primary task of the Partnership Committee is to identify and collaborate with local organizations outside of council representation who would like to “co-grow” work to advance health equity in the region. We partner with organizations focused on our priority areas, including chronic diseases, data collection, innovation care models, population health solutions, leadership, workforce, and recruitment/professional development. To formalize partnerships, we have developed MOUs with local academic and training institutions—agreements outlining terms of understanding for action that include each party’s responsibilities. Other organizations can use MOUs to advance and formalize community-academic partnerships to address health disparities in their own regions.

2. Can you discuss the impetus for partnership with the Region VII Midwestern Public Health Training Center (MPHTC)? What do you aim to accomplish?
Building the capacity of the public health workforce across our region will be critical to advancing health equity; with that in mind, the MOU with the Region VII MPHTC was born. The overall goal of the Region VII MPHTC is to ensure the current and emerging public health workforce has the capacity to address current and future public health challenges. Many of RHEC VII’s council members graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) College of Public Health – Great Plains Leadership Institute, which receives support from the MPTHC. An MOU with the center seemed like a natural fit. With Region VII MPHTC, we aim to support health equity through workforce development activities for public health and healthcare practitioners.

3. Please tell us how you are leveraging this partnership for shared collaborations, resources, and initiatives of work.
Together, RHEC VII and the Region VII MPHTC are building resources and capacity to complement one another in connections and advancement of opportunities related to public health initiatives. For instance, the RHEC VII Partnership Committee serves on the 2017 Regional Steering Committee and the MPHTC Diabetes Training and Education Advisory Committee. Within the library of the Region VII MPHTC, RHEC VII hosts quarterly webinars on chronic diseases and models of health care and services for our communities. Our webinars have a wide national audience that includes professionals from a range of fields, including health care, public health, academia, research, and nonprofit and other community organizations. Webinar topics have focused on diabetes management; community health workers (CHWs), liaison work between primary care providers and tribal nations; and diabetes care models and initiatives. Through our partnership, we also provide speakers and experts for conferences, such as the Iowa Health Summit keynote on diabetes models of care for innovation and reimbursement optimization. We have received appreciation of our work together thus far and look forward to collaborating on additional opportunities. As Co-chair of the RHEC VII’s Partnership Committee, I am grateful for all of our great work being done together with the Region VII MPHTC.  

July 18 NHMA/NPA Webinar Recording: Heart Disease: Prevention and Access to Treatment for Minorities

posted Jun 18, 2018, 2:47 PM by daniel yoo   [ updated Jul 30, 2018, 2:03 PM by Tech Support ]

Hosted by the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) and the NPA, this webinar provided an overview of heart disease and its impact on the Hispanic community, and it shared findings from NHMA’s Cardiovascular Disease and Hispanics Summit Series. The presenters also described the need for racial and ethnic diversity in clinical trials of interventions for heart disease to ensure that communities of color have treatments that work for them.

View the webinar recording here: https://explorepsa.adobeconnect.com/p1ekbbwjzyn2/ 

 To view/download the webinar transcript and the presentation slides (PDF format), please click on the links below.

Addressing Oral Health Disparities in Urban Settings: Applying the NPA Framework to Advance Access to Oral Health Care

posted Jun 11, 2018, 11:30 AM by daniel yoo   [ updated Jun 11, 2018, 11:39 AM ]

Posted by Christine Madrid Espinel, Health Program Specialist of the Utah Office of Health Disparities (OHD) and Co-chair of the Mountain States Regional Health Equity Council (RHEC VIII). RHEC VIII is one of 10 regional health equity councils (RHECs) formed in 2011 as part of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA) and encompasses Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. 

Oral health impacts our self-esteem, school and work performance, and overall wellbeing. Oral diseases are linked with chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease. Despite major improvements in oral health for the population as a whole, disparities persist. Racial and ethnic minorities, low-income individuals and families, and otherwise vulnerable populations have poor oral health outcomes and access oral health services—care of teeth, gums, and mouth—at lower rates. Increasing access to oral health services by addressing the social determinants of health is one way to close oral health gaps, according to a white paper published by my colleagues from Utah Office of Health Disparities (OHD). 

In January 2018, Utah OHD released the white paper Addressing Oral Health Disparities in Urban Settings: A Strategic Approach to Advance Access to Oral Health Care,” which documents oral health disparities and outlines efforts to increase access to oral health services in urban settings. 

Utah OHD’s strategic approach includes providing access to oral health services and a trusted provider by addressing social, economic, geographic, cultural, and linguistic barriers to care. Through its free dental day clinics, Utah OHD provides short-term access to oral health services for vulnerable populations living in urban settings. The approach also includes strategic investments in improving health literacy for vulnerable populations as well as building oral health workforce capacity to serve these communities. This work drives the focus from providing short-term services to developing sustainable, systematic solutions for long-term access to oral health care. 

Notably, Utah OHD uses the NPA’s framework of five goals to encourage adoption of approaches in areas of (1) awareness, (2) leadership, (3) health systems and life experience, (4) cultural and linguistic competency, and (5) data research and evaluation.

Utah OHD released the white paper while applying the Office of Minority Health’s National Partnership for Action (NPA) framework on the frontlines to address oral health disparities in Utah. In 2015, Utah OHD joined the State Partnership Initiative to Address Health Disparities (SPI) and embarked on a five-year program, Bridging Communities and Clinics (BCC), in two of Utah’s most underserved communities. BCC applies the NPA’s framework to encourage the adoption of approaches in awareness and leadership, such as by facilitating dialogues between oral health providers and community members on oral health disparities. Through its free dental day clinics, the Utah OHD applies the health system and life experience approach by removing barriers to oral health care. Utah OHD promotes cultural and linguistic competency by involving providers and patients from a variety of races/ethnicities and language competencies. By utilizing Utah OHD’s approaches and application of the NPA framework, partners in other communities can also advance access to oral health care and address oral health disparities. 

On June 12, 2018, Oral Health America’s Webinar Series will host the webinar Oral Health Disparities in Urban Settings: A Strategic Approach to Access to Care, which will highlight the contents of Utah OHD’s white paper and share approaches tied to the NPA goals. To register for the webinar, visit: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4382281002999059714

New Opioid NPA Caucus Launches Website

posted Jun 8, 2018, 8:07 AM by daniel yoo   [ updated Jun 8, 2018, 8:17 AM ]


The opioid epidemic is an emerging threat to our communities, and it greatly hinders our ability to achieve health equity goals. The NPA has responded by forming the Opioid NPA Caucus. 

To learn more about the caucus and how you can get involved, please visit the newly launched Opioid NPA Caucus webpage

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