A project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health

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Government in action on minority women's health

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The U.S. government and women's health

Minority Women's Health Panel of Experts

Project leader: Adrienne M. Smith, Ph.D., M.S., C.H.E.S.

The Office on Women's Health (OWH) established the Minority Women's Health Panel of Experts in response to its 1997 conference, "Bridging the Gap: Enhancing Partnerships to Improve Minority Women's Health." The panel is composed of physicians, clinicians, community advocates, and academicians working in communities and health settings around the country that serve racially and ethnically diverse women. The five major ethnic groups (African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, and Hispanic) are represented among the panel members, who have expertise in a variety of disciplines. The major focus of the panel is to ensure that the ethnic minority focus is incorporated throughout OWH programs, policies and initiatives by:

  1. Providing input to and serving as a resource for the United States Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) Office on Women's Health, in support of the OWH's goals to improve the health of women and in the development of minority women's health initiatives;
  2. Providing input to the Department/Secretarial initiatives, targeted to enhance the health of minority women in the United States.

Learn more about the Minority Women's Health Panel of Experts.

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Minority partnerships and sponsorships

Project leader: Adrienne M. Smith, Ph.D., M.S., C.H.E.S.

It has been the goal of OWH to provide support to minority and underserved women's-focused conferences, programs/projects, seminars, and workshops. In relation to the OWH mission to foster partnerships to eliminate health disparities, this support mechanism works to strengthen the capacity of communities of color to promote women's health across the lifespan. Supporting minority programs/projects/conferences allows OWH to have a presence at the community level to deliver health promotion messages in a culturally-competent and linguistically-appropriate manner. Collaboration support and funding are provided via professional services contracts (competitive awards) for activities designed for diverse racial and ethnic minority women's populations (African-American, Caribbean American, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, Hispanic/Latina American, Native American/Alaska Native, and immigrant women).

Eligible entities may include: community- and faith-based organizations, minority-serving institutions of higher education, clinics and hospitals, state and local government agencies, tribal government entities and organizations, and small health education non-profit organizations.

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Health and Wellness Initiative for Women Attending Minority Institutions

Project leader: Adrienne M. Smith, Ph.D., M.S., C.H.E.S.

The Office on Women’s Health has launched a new pilot project entitled the Health and Wellness Initiative for Women Attending Minority Institutions. This initiative addresses the health needs and concerns of minority women attending minority colleges and universities. These include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). The initiative works on several levels, including with communities, groups, and individuals, and it creates partnerships across the campus community.

The overall goal of this initiative is to enable the institutions to conduct health promotion activities that are appropriate for audiences based on gender, age, cultural background, and language. There are three primary requirements that address the following areas: education and prevention of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), violence against women, and overall wellness (including mental health, overweight/obesity, heart disease, diabetes, reproductive health, substance use and abuse, autoimmune diseases, nutrition, dental health, and other topics). The minority institutions will collaborate with local health service organizations to foster a culture of health, wellness, and safety for the entire campus community. The eight grantees, grouped by type of institution, are:

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • Benedict College, Columbia, SC
  • Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL
  • Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA
  • The Wright Group, Clark Atlanta and Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA
Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs)
  • SUAGM, Inc. dba Universidad del Turabo, Gurabo, PR
  • The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX
Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs)
  • National Indian Women’s Health Resource Center, Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, OK
  • Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, WA

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Other federal programs

The burden of many health problems is especially heavy for minority women. The Department of Health and Human Services has an array of programs and initiatives across the agencies that address health disparities in minority populations and work towards reducing this disease burden. Below is a list of some of these resources.

  • CDC — Office of Minority and Women's Health
    The mission of the Office of Minority and Women's Health in the National Center for Infectious Diseases is to assure that the burden and impact of infectious diseases among racial and ethnic minorities and women is acknowledged and addressed through research, surveillance, education, training, and program development. Of major concern are racial, ethnic, and gender health disparities in infectious diseases.
  • CDC's WISEWOMAN — Well Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation
    The WISEWOMAN Program consists of 12 CDC-funded WISEWOMAN demonstration projects in states, territories, and tribes. Through these 12 projects, WISEWOMAN provides screening and lifestyle intervention for many low-income and uninsured women.
  • HHS Minority Health Initiatives
    This website is a gateway to the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health initiatives.
  • National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD)
    This center leads, coordinates, supports, and assesses the NIH effort to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities. The NCMHD works with the National Institutes of Health and with other federal agencies and grassroots organizations in minority and in other medically underserved communities to promote minority health.
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
    HRSA directs programs that improve the nation's health by expanding access to comprehensive, quality health care for all Americans.
  • Let Everyone Participate (LEP)
    LEP.gov promotes a positive and cooperative understanding of the importance of language access to federal programs and federally assisted programs.
  • Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
    The Committee on Indian Affairs has jurisdiction to study the unique problems of American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native peoples and to propose legislation to alleviate them. All legislation proposed by members of the Senate that specifically pertains to American Indians, Native Hawaiians, or Alaska Natives is under the jurisdiction of the committee.
  • HRSA Programs on the Border
    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration supports programs that promote access to health care services for underserved and vulnerable populations, including individuals living along the U.S.–Mexico border.  Healthy Border 2010 aims to improve the quality of life, increase the number of years of healthy life, and eliminate health disparities.
  • Indian Health Service
    The mission of the Indian Health Service (IHS) is to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives. IHS accomplishes this through ensuring that comprehensive, culturally acceptable health services are available and accessible to American Indian and Alaska Native people.

Content last updated July 16, 2012.

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