During the month of April, Indiana celebrates Minority Health Month.
Margarita Hart, Certified Community Health Worker (CCHW), board certified chaplain and executive director of the Indiana Community Health Workers Association (INCHWA), joined us Thursday on “Life.Style.Live!” to share the mission of Certified Community Healthcare Workers and the importance of getting more funding to employ them. Here’s more from Hart:
What the OMH does:
The Office of Minority Health coordinates, facilitates and monitors community-based programs tailored to meet the needs of populations of color and ensures that health-related issues become part of the agendas of outside programs as they relate to underserved populations.
It also maintains open dialogue with outside agencies in an effort to keep abreast of concerns, trends, and problems as seen by these agencies which will assist in identifying gaps, barriers and duplication in services.
The mission of the Office of Minority Health is to improve the health of all racial and ethnic populations in Indiana through increased awareness, partnerships, and the development and promotion of effective health policies and programs that help to reduce minority health disparities.
Programs under the OMH:
- Indiana Minority Health Plan
- Interagency Council on Black and Minority Health
- Faith-based Response to COVID-19
- Community Health Worker Initiative
- EMPOWERED 2 Be Fit
Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have placed people from many racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of COVID-19. Before the pandemic, various studies already showed that minority groups suffer from a higher rate of chronic disease. The impact of COVID-19 has exacerbated existing health conditions and affected efforts to mitigate the pandemic.
Secondary effects of the virus include: an uptick in domestic violence, increased behavioral/mental health problems, and exacerbated conditions in people with existing mental and/or substance use disorders (SUD). In Indiana, there is only one professional mental health provider per 500 people, and one in 3,000 for Black people.
People with mental disorders and SUD are 2 to 6x more likely to have co-occurring chronic physical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, than individuals without behavioral health conditions (McKenzie & Company, 2020). In addition, the most aggressive rise in opioid death rates over the last few years has been in the state’s Black population.
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THIS SEGMENT IS SPONSORED BY THE INDIANA COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS ASSOCIATION.