In 1999, DHHS created the Office of Minority Health to help ensure that all residents of New Hampshire have access to DHHS services and to improve the health of minorities.
In 2010, The Refugee Program moved from the Governor's Office (Office of Energy and Planning), to the Department of Health and Human Services, into the Office of Minority Health. The office name has changed to Office of Minority Health and Refugee Affairs (OMHRA) to reflect this valuable addition. The Refugee Program's major goal is to assist refugees in achieving economic self-sufficiency and social adjustment. This fits well with the social determinants of health frame used by OMHRA to achieve its objectives of reducing disparities and promoting health equity.
There are three primary areas of responsibility for the Office of Minority Health & Refugee Affairs:
- Provides a sustained focus on the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services to NH's residents by DHHS;
- Maintains communication with racial, ethnic and other medically underserved populations to create partnerships to enhance the overall health of the communities by developing combined opportunities and resources to address health disparities; and
- Collaborates and partners with federal and regional state minority health offices and NH health and community agencies regarding various regional, national and state health disparity initiatives. A great example of a successful regional partnership is the bi-annual New England Regional Minority Health Conference.