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January 22, 2004

Minority health center gets $2 million grant

The Center for Minority Health (CMH), part of the Graduate School of Public Health, has received more than $2 million from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to provide statewide technical assistance to ethnic, racial and disparate populations, primary contractors and service providers to establish tobacco cessation programs.

This continues a contract between the Department of Health and CMH, which has been in effect since 2001 and comes from the tobacco settlement fund for the Pennsylvania Tobacco Prevention Clearinghouse.

CMH has been awarded $2,062,150 for the period January 2004-June 2006 to continue its efforts to work with both the primary contractors and the identified priority populations to ensure that tobacco use prevention and cessation education, service and funding become a reality for underserved Pennsylvanians.

Stephen B. Thomas, director of CMH and Philip Hallen Professor of Community Health and Social Justice, said: “This is one key element in our mission to eliminate health disparities by 2010.”

The purpose of the clearinghouse is to provide statewide technical assistance in program planning and evaluation for community-based efforts to reduce exposure to tobacco smoke pollution, building the capacity of community-based organizations to collect and analyze data, conducting asset and needs assessments, writing fundable intervention proposals and evaluating program effectiveness.

Pennsylvania has based its statewide tobacco control program on the Centers for Disease Control’s best practices for comprehensive tobacco control programs. The health department has made significant progress toward addressing the four CDC program goal areas, one of which is to identify and eliminate tobacco-related disparities in specific populations.

Through the contract with CMH, a diverse and inclusive workgroup will assist in a strategic planning process to develop a comprehensive strategic plan that will provide a framework for future programs, interventions and surveillance and evaluation associated with tobacco-related disparities.

The clearinghouse also will:

• Provide technical assistance on cultural competence and health literacy to defined populations and organizations. This will include the development of a cultural competency assessment tool that will be made available to primary contractors and service providers to enhance their programs, which are geared toward disparate populations.

• Create a scholarship for minority scholars who are basing their master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation on tobacco prevention and control, tobacco policy or campus-based tobacco use interventions.

Recipients of the scholarships will present findings to Department of Health staff and community-based organizations. Copies of the findings will be distributed to primary contractors, service providers and key community-based organizations to assist with sustainability of community-based efforts around tobacco prevention and control.

• Create evidence-based oral cancer screening training programs with a special emphasis on minority populations for dentists and dental hygienists. These trainings will expand to primary care physicians, particularly at community health centers.

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