Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Disparities Key to Drop in Utah Health Ranking

Utah slipped from 2nd to 7th in the most recent America's Health Rankings report, the lowest ranking Utah has ever had.  The United Health Foundation lists health disparities as one of three key Utah weaknesses, along with a shortage of primary care physicians and low funding for public health.

Utah ranked 44th in the nation in the"geographic disparity" category, which measures the variations in death rates from one county to another. Morgan, Cache and Summit counties have the lowest death rates in the state while Duchesne, Carbon and Beaver counties have the highest death rates.

View the Utah Health Ranking Report at http://www.americashealthrankings.org/yearcompare/2009/2010/UT.aspx

View the Utah Department of Health Response at

CMH Web Domain Changes

health.utah.gov/disparities is the new web domain of the Utah Department of Health, Center for Multicultural Health.

During the recent legislative session, the legislature passed a law changing the name of this office from "Center for Multicultural Health" to "Office of Health Disparities Reduction".  This change becomes effective soon and will make the initials "cmh" outmoded.  At present, if you visit the old health.utah.gov/cmh domain you should be automatically redirected to the new website, but please update your bookmarks to the new location.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Center for Multicultural Health announces new community partners!

The Center for Multicultural Health (CMH) has completed an RFP process for the Health Disparities Reduction Grant.  The following community partners have been chosen to join CMH in addressing health disparities among Utah’s minority populations in CMH priority health areas from June 2011 to August 2013.  Our new partners are:
Target Population
Health Area
Geographic Area
Project Success Coalition
African Americans/
Birth Outcomes/
Infant Mortality
Weber & Davis Counties

Target Population
Health Area
Geographic Area
National Tongan American Society
Pacific Islanders/
Hawaiian Natives
Health Access & Obesity
Salt Lake County
The Queen Center
Pacific Islanders/
Hawaiian Natives
Birth Outcomes/
Infant Mortality
Salt Lake County

Target Population
Health Area
Geographic Area
The People’s Health Clinic
Health Access
Summit & Wasatch Counties

We are excited about how these new partnerships will help to reduce health disparities in our state!
For more information or questions, contact Dulce Díez at http://www.blogger.com/ddiez@utah.gov.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Pacific Islander Study Is Underway!

The Utah Department of Health Survey Center is now randomly contacting Utah Pacific Islanders to learn about their health needs and preferences.  This is the first surveillance study of its kind in Utah, and possibly throughout the nation. 

If you are randomly selected to participate, you will talk to an interviewer for about 10 minutes on the telephone.  You may complete the interview in English, Tongan or Samoan.  All of your answers will be confidential. The information will be used to improve public health outreach to Pacific Islanders.  The better the response rate, the more accurate our information about Utah Pacific Islanders will be, so please encourage all Utah Pacific Islanders to agree to speak to the Health Department interviewers if they are randomly chosen to complete an interview.

Five Utah Pacific Islanders who speak English and Tongan or Samoan have been hired and trained to conduct the survey.

Many Utah Pacific Islanders already participated in pilot testing of the survey instrument several weeks ago.  However, it is possible that some of  these people could randomly be contacted again to participate in the "real" and finalized survey, so don't worry if you get another call that sounds familiar!  Surveys completed during pilot testing will not count towards the final study numbers.

As of today, 59 Utah Pacific Islanders have already completed  interviews, so we are at a great start towards completing our goal of 500 interviews.

Living Well with Chronic Conditions

Want to decrease your pain, decrease your doctors’ visits, & enjoy life more? The Utah Arthritis Program is promoting Living Well with Chronic Conditions, a self-management program. Classes are given 2 1/2 hours, once a week, for 6 weeks, in community settings. People with different chronic health problems all attend together. Classes are conducted by two trained leaders; one or both with a chronic disease themselves. Anyone with an ongoing condition such as asthma, arthritis, chronic joint pain, fibromyalgia, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart failure, COPD or emphysema, depression, chronic pain or others.

Subjects covered include:
1)       Techniques for frustration, fatigue, pain & isolation
2)     Appropriate exercise to maintain & improve strength
3)      Appropriate use of medications  &  proper nutrition
4)     Communicating effectively with family, friends & health professionals
5)     How to evaluate new treatments

For more information call Rebecca at
801-538-9340 or check the Utah Arthritis Program at:  www.health.utah.gov/arthritis/CDSMP

President Obama's Minority Health Month Message

April 8, 2011

I send greetings to all those observing National Minority Health Month.

Ensuring access to quality, affordable health care helps create the opportunity for all citizens to achieve the American dream. Despite advances in medicine and technology, disparities remain in our health care system for too many Americans, including racial and ethnic minorities, and particularly those living with lower incomes. The Affordable Care Act works to address these issues, expanding health insurance coverage to over 30 million people and focusing on reducing health care disparities.

This year's theme for National Minority Health Month, "Bring it or Buy it: Make Lunch Healthy, Green and Good! In Schools, Even Food Can Teach Us a Lesson," highlights the importance of healthy food in tackling childhood obesity, which disproportionately affects minority children. By providing nutritious options and promoting healthy choices, we can reduce disparities among our youngest citizens and secure a safer, healthier future for all Americans.

I wish you all the best.
-Barak Obama

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New National Plan to Address Health Disparities

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has unveiled a comprehensive plan to address health disparities among racial, ethnic and other underserved populations. 

The plan was available in draft form when the Utah Department of Health, Office of Health Disparities Reduction (OHD) applied for its most recent federal grant. Utah OHD based its current federally funded activities on the strategies outlined in the federal plan. These strategies include awareness, leadership, health and health system experience, cultural and linguistic competency, and research/evaluation.  

OHD is increasing awareness of the significance of health disparities, their impact on the state of Utah, and the actions necessary to improve health outcomes for racial and ethnic minority populations by disseminating data and best practices information through unpaid media, Internet and in-person communication methods.
OHD has strengthened and broadened leadership for addressing health disparities by convening diverse Advisory Boards to oversee implementation of the plan.  OHD is also funding community-based organizations and mobilizing existing networks to address health disparities. 
Health and Health System Experience
OHD and its partners will address health and health system experience by conducting evidence-based interventions to improve health outcomes for minority members including in-person outreach and system-wide changes to reduce barriers to accessing health care and public health services. 
Cultural and Linguistic Competency
OHD will work with healthcare and public health service providers to improve cultural and linguistic competency, building upon and improving existing successful interventions, such as the online Multilingual Library and assessment/training projects at health clinics.
Research and Evaluation
OHD research includes a recently completed quantitative and qualitative assessment of barriers to accessing healthcare and adopting healthy lifestyles among Utah racial/ethnic minorities that the Advisory Boards, networks and contractors can use to guide intervention decisions.  OHD is also completing a landmark study addressing health issues in the Utah Pacific Islander population. Program evaluation will be used to determine the success of these interventions.

The HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities outlines goals and actions HHS will take to reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities. HHS also released the National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity, a common set of goals and objectives for public and private sector initiatives and partnerships to help racial and ethnic minorities and other underserved groups reach their full health potential. The strategy, a product of the National Partnership for Action (NPA), incorporates ideas, suggestions and comments from thousands of individuals and organizations across the country. The NPA was coordinated by the HHS Office of Minority Health.

National Plan Links

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Healthy Lunches for Kids Inspired by Ethnic Traditions

Loss of Traditional Nutrition Practices Leads to Obesity among Minorities
·         Almost 2/3 of Utah adults are overweight.  However, minority Utahns, such as Pacific Islanders and Hispanics, are even more likely to be overweight.
·         American minorities gain weight when they abandon the healthier traditions of their ancestors and start eating unhealthy American convenience foods. Healthy eating patterns begin in childhood.
·         The traditional diets of the Pacific Islands and Latin America can inspire healthy alternatives for kids’ lunches.

Unhealthy American Sack Lunch Example
About This Lunch
·         Bologna and American cheese sandwich on white bread with regular mayonnaise
·         Potato chips
·         Twinkie
·         Fruit punch
·         This lunch is high in calories and fat and low in nutrients.
·         If you look at the label, you see that the number one ingredient in the fruit punch is not fruit, but sugar.
·         Not only is this lunch unhealthy, it is bland and boring.

Pacific Island-inspired Sack Lunch Example
About This Lunch
·         Tuna sandwich on wheat with cucumber and canola mayonnaise
·         Mango
·         Cold steamed or baked sweet potato with cinnamon
·         Coconut juice
·         Fish, fruit and root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, are healthy staples of the traditional Pacific Island diet.
·         Fish is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids and the tuna sandwich has more protein than the bologna sandwich.
·         Mangoes and sweet potatoes are great sources of fiber and vitamins.
·         Make sure to get coconut “water” or “juice”, not coconut “milk”, which is higher in fat and calories.

Latin America-inspired Sack Lunch Example
About This Lunch
·         Black bean, cilantro, tomato and corn salad
·         Tortilla
·         Banana
·         Low-fat milk
·         Beans, tomatoes, and corn are healthy staples of the traditional Latin American diet.
·         Beans are one of the healthiest foods available; they are packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and omega 3 fatty acids.
·         The corn in the salad is a whole grain.

Buying lunch at school is another healthy and affordable option
·         Many favorite ethnic dishes cannot be served cold, but Utah school districts frequently offer hot, healthy ethnic foods as part of the school lunch program.
·         School lunches are required to meet the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
·         Free or reduced price school lunches are available for low-income families.  Eligibility guidelines and applications in several languages are available at our website, health.utah.gov/cmh.  You can apply at any time during the school year.

Applying for Free and Reduced Price School Lunch

Schools offer free and reduced price school lunches to low-income families.
·         Households may apply for reduced/free meals (breakfast, lunch) anytime during the school year
·         Social Security number is not required to apply  an indication that the signing adult does not have one will suffice.
·         A household with no income can submit a note to verify their eligibility
·         An application with only one SNAP/TANF case number will qualify all children in a household. 

Click here to view the income eligibility guidelines.

English (.doc) (.pdf)
Arabic (.doc) (.pdf)
Cambodian (.doc) (.pdf)
Chinese (Mandarin) (.doc) (.pdf)
Farsi (.doc) (.pdf)
French (.doc) (.pdf)
Greek (.doc) (.pdf)
Haitian Creole (.doc) (.pdf)
Hindi (.doc) (.pdf)
Hmong (.doc) (.pdf)
Japanese (.doc) (.pdf)
Korean (.doc) (.pdf)
Kurdish (.doc) (.pdf)
Laotian (.doc) (.pdf)
Polish (.doc) (.pdf)
Portuguese (.doc) (.pdf)
Russian (.doc) (.pdf)
Samoan (.doc) (.pdf)
Serbo-Croatian (.doc) (.pdf)
Somali (.doc) (.pdf)
Spanish (.doc) (.pdf)
Sudanese (.doc) (.pdf)
Tagalog (.doc) (.pdf)
Thai (.doc) (.pdf)
Urdu (.doc) (.pdf)
Vietnamese (.doc) (.pdf)