The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued its first annual Report on Minority Health Activities, for the federal Fiscal Year 2010.  This is the first of biennial reports required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

The report notes the significant federal government infrastructure changes enacted in the PPACA, including the reauthorization and elevation of the HHS Office of Minority Health into to the Office of the Secretary; the elevation of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities to become the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health; the authorization of Offices of Minority Health at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Food and Drug Administration, Health Services and Resources Administration, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and the reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

The report notes the work of several other departmental and interagency work groups, including the HHS Health Disparities Council, the Federal Interagency Health Equity Team, and the Federal Collaboration on Health Disparities Research.  The includes representation from HHS as well as the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, Transportation, Veterans Affairs and the Environmental Protection Agency.  The team guided the development and will be monitoring the implementation of the National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity.

As a reflection of the level of coordination among all these activities, the report notes that HHS agency representatives have collaboratively identified the goals that will guide activities of all offices of minority health and support the efforts of the newly elevated National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. These goals are to:

(1) reduce disparities in population health

(2) increase the availability of data to track and monitor progress in reducing disparities

(3) reduce disparities in health insurance coverage and access to care

(4) reduce disparities in the quality of healthcare, and

(5) increase healthcare workforce diversity and cultural competency.

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