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Michigan Minority Health Law is 10, Accomplishments Recognized by MDHHS

By |2018-05-16T13:02:13-04:00May 16th, 2018|Lansing, Neighborhoods|

LANSING, Mich. – 2017 marked the 10th anniversary of the Michigan Minority Health Law, Public Act 653. In recognition, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has released the 2017 Health Equity Report, Moving Health Forward, which provides a 10-year look at the department’s efforts to eliminate health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities in the state and includes ‘next steps’ to further advance health equity.
Signed in 2007, the legislation amended the Michigan Public Health code to address the significant health disparities experienced by Michigan’s racial and ethnic minority populations. The legislation requires MDHHS to employ strategies to improve health status for minority populations in the state, and references five populations: African American, American Indian/Native American, Arab and Chaldean American, Asian American and Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino.
Those strategies include:
– Establish minority health policy.
– Develop and implement an effective statewide strategic plan for the reduction of racial and disparities.
– Utilize resources to fund minority health programs.
– Provide coordination related to minority health issues.
– Develop and implement recruitment and retention strategies to increase minorities in the health and social services professions.
– Identify and assist in the implementation of culturally and linguistically appropriate health promotion and disease prevention programs.
– Relay the concerns of local minority health coalitions to the department.
– Assist in coordinating minority input on state health policies and programs.
“The Act has served as the guiding policy for the department’s work and its activities to assess and improve equity-related efforts for the past decade,” said Nick Lyon, MDHHS director. “The 10-year anniversary provides us the opportunity to reflect on accomplishments, challenges and future direction towards achieving equity for Michigan’s racial and ethnic minorities.”
Issued by the MDHHS Health Disparities Reduction and Minority Health Section, the report highlights the following health equity-related activities and accomplishments within the past decade:
– Implementation of programs and initiatives that address health and social equity for racial and ethnic minority populations including the Healthy Michigan Plan and Practices to Reduce Infant Mortality through Equity.
– Increased awareness, understanding and discussion about health and social equity that is leading to a change in how MDHHS approaches its work.
– Development and support of MDHHS structures and processes to advance health equity including establishment of a department Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Workgroup.
– The merger of the Michigan Department of Community Health and Department of Human Services to create MDHHS, resulting in better coordination of health and human services and increased capacity to address the comprehensive needs of underserved populations.
– Implementation of strategies to promote workforce diversity, including increased efforts to recruit racial and ethnically diverse job candidates and assemble diverse interview panels.
– Increased health and social equity training and professional development opportunities for staff, facilitating growth in understanding and capacity to address health disparities.
– Advancements in data collection and utilization around health disparities and health and social inequities.
– Commitment to fostering community stakeholder and client engagement in programs, service-delivery and policy efforts.
– Implementation of policies to advance health and social equity, including requiring health equity components in Requests for Proposals and requiring contracted health plans to implement cultural and linguistically appropriate services standards.
– Applying an equity lens, which involves looking at the potential impact that programs and policies have on populations that traditionally experience the greatest inequities (i.e. racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ persons, persons with disabilities, and persons with limited English proficiency, etc.) and redesigning them to achieve a more positive impact and outcome.
Recognition of health equity as a departmental priority and inclusion of equity, diversity and cultural competency in the MDHHS 2016-2018 Strategic Plan. To view the full report, Moving Health Forward, or for more information, visit

About the Author:

Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.
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