The Minority Health Program provides statewide leadership for policy measures that aim to improve the health of vulnerable populations in Wisconsin. We work to identify, communicate, and address the health disparities impacting economically-disadvantaged minority populations across Wisconsin through programming, partnerships, and grants.
The Minority Health Program (MHP) is committed to the improvement of the health and well-being of racial and ethnic communities in Wisconsin and eliminating health disparities. Created in 1999, the MHP supports Wisconsin Statute § 250.20 which requires, in part, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), to:
- Identify barriers to health and health care that prevent economically disadvantaged Wisconsin minorities from participating fully and equally in all aspects of life;
- Monitor current and emerging State policies, procedures, practices, statutes, and rules to determine how they positively or negatively affect the health of economically disadvantaged minority community members; and
- Disseminate information on the health status of economically disadvantaged minority group members living in Wisconsin.
As of 2021, the Minority Health Program is administered under the Office of Health Equity. Our work is guided by four levels of authority:
- The federal Office of Minority Health;
- Wis. Stats. 250.20;
- The state health plan, Healthiest Wisconsin 2030; and
- The Office of Health Equity.
*Wisconsin statute defines the work of the MHP as centering the health status of economically disadvantaged (i.e., having an income that is at or below 125% of the poverty line) members of four racial and ethnic minority populations. These populations are: American Indian, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino.
The 2018-2020 Minority Health Report: Advancing Health Equity in Wisconsin which provides an overview of the program, identifies key data related to minority health, highlights the 2019-2020 grantee projects, and puts forth some policy and practice recommendations.
The inaugural Minority Health Program Grantee Forum which brought together Governor Tony Evers, DHS, and other leaders in public health to showcase the work of our grantees.
Widespread disparities continue to persist in Wisconsin with communities of color experiencing disproportionately higher rates of chronic illness and disease, overall lower life expectancies, and less access to quality health care. Wisconsin also ranks among the worst states for Black maternal and birth outcomes with rates of Black maternal mortality being nearly three times higher than the rate for white women.
According to the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute 2021 Health and Equity Report Card, Wisconsin received a 'D' for its overall racial health disparity grade. The 2018-2020 Minority Health Report and the Governor’s Health Equity Council’s 2023 full report "Building a Better Wisconsin: Investing in the Health and Well-being of Wisconsinites" both document the disproportionate burden of poor health that persists among racial and ethnic minority populations in this state. Providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services to health care consumers has the potential to improve access to care, quality of care, and, ultimately, health outcomes. Below, you will find links to various resources that address the issues of cultural competency and language access.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care along with a downloadable blueprint to offer guidance and implementation strategies, A Blueprint for Advancing and Sustaining CLAS Policy and Practice (The Blueprint).