Selected Achievements and Milestones in CDC's Office of Minority Health and Health Equity
In 2018, CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) celebrates 30 years of service. Learn more about some achievements and milestones that have played a role in the work that OMHHE does and the efforts to reduce health disparities and create healthy lives for everyone.
Photo: National Negro Health News Volume 1, Number 2, NAID 7586131
National Negro Health Week begins in response to disturbing findings by the Tuskegee Institute that highlighted the poor health status of African Americans in the early part of the 20th Century. The U. S. Public Health Service instituted this in order to improve the health status of the black population by educating members of the community, providing greater access to healthcare, and encouraging an increased number of black professionals in the field of public health.
Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health, known as the Heckler Report is released which documented the existence of health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities in the United States and called such disparities “an affront both to our ideals and to the ongoing genius of American medicine.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (HHS OMH) was created and is one of the most significant outcomes of the 1985 Secretary’s Task Force Report on Black and Minority Health. The creation of the office lent itself to the emergence of minority health disparities as an issue of national significance.
CDC’s Office of Minority Health was established under the direction of Dr. Rueben Warren.
In 1990, HHS released Healthy People 2000: National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives, a strategy for improving the health of Americans by the end of the century, which was followed by Healthy People 2010 and Healthy People 2020.
Dr. Walter Williams becomes associate director of minority health at CDC.
HHS establishes the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (National CLAS Standards) which aims to improve health care quality and advance health equity by establishing a framework for organizations to serve the nation’s increasingly diverse communities.
The Healthcare Equality and Accountability Act of 2003 passes to improve minority health and healthcare and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health and healthcare.
CDC establishes the Health Disparities Subcommittee, which provides counsel to the CDC Director on CDC’s efforts to address health disparities in achieving the agency’s overarching health impact goals. This committee is important because it supports the development of specific health disparity objectives, performance indicators, and agency priorities and advocates for action on health disparities. This committee also provides guidance on opportunities for CDC to work with other sectors.
The HHS Office of Minority Health convened more than 2,000 experts and leaders at the National Leadership Summit for Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities. At this summit, community leaders, health equity experts and other stakeholders call for Social Determinants of Health-centered, community-driven, systems-oriented, cross-sector, and partnership-based approaches to eliminate health disparities.
The National Leadership Summit for Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities led to the development of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities.
In December 2010, HHS launched Healthy People 2020. Healthy People 2020 includes a new Foundation section which addresses several important health topics: General Health Status, Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being, Determinants of Health, and Disparities. An overarching goal of Healthy People 2020 is to achieve health equity, eliminate health disparities, and improve the health of all groups.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passes in March 2010, establishing Offices of Minority Health within six agencies of HHS, including CDC.
Dr. Leandris Liburd becomes director of what is now known as CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE).
CDC releases first periodic “CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report – United States, 2011” which provides analysis and reporting of the recent trends and ongoing variations in health disparities and inequalities in selected social and health indicators, both of which are important steps in encouraging actions and facilitating accountability to reduce modifiable disparities by using interventions that are effective and scalable.
OMHHE launches the Health Equity Matters newsletter. This quarterly e-newsletter shares news, perspectives, and progress in the science and practice of health equity.
OMHHE hosts the first group of students in the CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Program.
OMHHE launches Conversations in Equity, a blog devoted to increasing awareness of health inequities and promoting national, state, and local efforts to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity.
CDC releases second “CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report – United States, 2013.”
OMHHE celebrates 25 years. As part of the commemoration, CDC’s David J. Sencer Museum exhibited Health Is a Human Right: Race and Place in America. The exhibit interprets minority health issues in the 20th and 21st centuries, and illustrates the social determinants of health through photographs, documents, data charts, books, public health promotional materials, media, and artifacts. The exhibit is available to view online through Georgia State University.
OMHHE publishes an MMWR report, the “Strategies for Reducing Health Disparities – Selected CDC-Sponsored Interventions, United States, 2014.” This report includes selected interventions that reflect effective public health actions supported by CDC that are proven effective or show promise for reducing health disparities at the local or national levels. This is followed by a report in 2016 which highlights additional public health programs addressing health disparities.
CDC releases first national study on Hispanic health risks and leading causes of death in the U.S.
In collaboration with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, CDC published a special supplement to the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice focusing on health equity.
CDC reports 25 percent drop in African-American death rate in African American Health Vital Signs.
- Page last reviewed: May 18, 2018
- Page last updated: May 18, 2018
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