The Office of Minority Health (OMH) was created in 1986 and is one of the most significant outcomes of the 1985 Secretary's Task Force Report on Black and Minority Health. The Office is dedicated to improving the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help eliminate health disparities.
Poor health outcomes for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are apparent when comparing their health indicators against those of the rest of the . population. These populations experience higher rates of illness and death from health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, specific cancers, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, asthma, hepatitis B, and overweight and obesity. OMH's primary responsibility is to improve health and healthcare outcomes for racial and ethnic minority communities by developing or advancing policies, programs, and practices that address health, social, economic, environmental and other factors which impact health.
OMH programs address disease prevention, health promotion, risk reduction, healthier lifestyle choices, use of health care services, and barriers to health care. The Office also:
Mental Health America believes that it is essential that all aspects of mental health systems be reflective of the diversity of the communities that they serve and that mental health agencies strive to become and remain culturally and linguistically competent. A culturally and linguistically competent mental health system incorporates skills, attitudes, and policies to ensure that it is effectively addressing the needs of consumers and families with diverse values, beliefs, and sexual orientations, in addition to backgrounds that vary by race, ethnicity, religion, and language.
This checklist is intended to heighten the awareness and sensitivity of personnel to the importance of cultural and linguistic competence in health and human service settings. It provides concrete examples of the kinds of beliefs, attitudes, values and practices that foster cultural and linguistic competence at the individual or practitioner level. There is no answer key with correct responses. However, if you frequently responded “C,” you may not necessarily demonstrate beliefs, attitudes, values and practices that promote cultural and linguistic competence within health care delivery programs.