Although the health of all Americans has continued to improve over the more than two decades since the 1985 Task Force Report on Black and Minority Health was issued, racial and ethnic health disparities persist and, in some cases, are increasing. The persistence of such disparities suggests that current approaches and strategies are not producing the kinds of results needed to ensure that all Americans are able to achieve the same quality and years of healthy life, regardless of race/ethnicity, gender and other variables (as reflected in the two overarching goals of Healthy People 2010). The mission of the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) is to improve the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help eliminate disparities. OMH has a unique leadership and coordination role to play within the Department and across the nation, relative to this mission. However, such a mission cannot be accomplished by OMH alone. We need the active engagement and sustained efforts of all stakeholders working together with us and each other to effect the necessary changes at every level and across all sectors over time. These stakeholders include racial and ethnic minority communities and those who serve them, other HHS and Federal entities, academic and research institutions, State and Tribal governments, faith- and community-based organizations, private industry, philanthropies and many others. We also need to examine what we are doing, identify what must be done differently and determine how best to work together - within and across our respective disciplines, areas of interest, organizational/institutional or geographic boundaries and spheres of influence - to enhance our individual and collective effectiveness and impacts. The Strategic Framework for Improving Racial and Ethnic Minority Health and Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (Framework) presented here is intended to help guide, organize and coordinate the systematic planning, implementation and evaluation of efforts within OMH, HHS and across the nation to achieve better results relative to minority health improvements and health disparities reductions
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