Launched in December of 2005, the Office focuses on eliminating the six major health disparities identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC): Cancer, Diabetes, Immunizations, Infant Mortality, Heart Disease/Stroke, and HIV/AIDS. The Office primarily serves the five federally recognized racial and ethnic minorities in Suffolk County:
- African Americans / Blacks
- Hispanics / Latinos
- American Indians / Native Americans
- Native American / Pacific Islanders
The mission of the Office of Minority Health (OMH) is to improve health outcomes and eliminate existing health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities in Suffolk County.
The Goals of OMH
- Increase healthcare access for racial and ethnic minorities
- Collaborate with community and faith based organizations about existing health disparities
- Improve the cultural competency level of all professional staff within the Suffolk County Department of Health Services
- Implement health promotion and education programs in key grassroot communities in Suffolk County
- Collect and analyze data on racial and ethnic minorities to better determine the health needs of these communities in Suffolk County
OMH Projects and Programs
The projects and programs developed by OMH will focus on increasing awareness and understanding of the major health problems as well as inform, educate and empower racial and ethnic minorities about health services and resources available in Suffolk County in order to create a greater impact in the delivery, understanding and importance of health information and disease. Many events are developed in a culturally appropriate and acceptable manner.
Local public health departments are especially responsible for delivering health care and services in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner since many of the communities they serve carry the heaviest burden from disease in this society. Many racial and ethnic minorities make up these communities and encounter barriers relating to cultural misunderstanding and miscommunication when obtaining or receiving health service.
Culture and language influence health, healing, and wellness beliefs; delivery of health services by providers; behaviors of patients/consumers; and perceptions about causes of diseases and cures of diseases. Overall, cultural and linguistic competence influences the a local health department’s objectives of providing quality medical care and promoting healthy behavior.
The SCDHS OMH seeks to address existing health inequities for racial and ethnic minorities and improve positive health outcomes for all patients who receive services within the Health Department. Since becoming a culturally and linguistically competent organization or individual is a long-term and on-going process, OMH developed an action plan in order to provide a systematic strategy for the implementation of CLAS.