Celebrating Minority Health Month, Supporting Certified Community Health Workers – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather forecast

During the month of April, Indiana celebrates Minority Health Month.

Margarita Hart, Certified Community Health Worker (CCHW), Board-Certified Chaplain and Executive Director of the Indiana Community Health Workers Association (INCHWA), joined us Thursday on “Life.Style.Live! ” share the mission of certified community health workers and the importance of getting more funding to employ them. Here’s more from Hart:

What the OMH does:

The Office of Minority Health coordinates, facilitates, and monitors community-based programs tailored to meet the needs of populations of color and ensures that health-related issues are included in outreach programs for underserved populations.

It also maintains an open dialogue with external agencies with the aim of keeping abreast of concerns, trends and issues as perceived by these agencies, which will help identify gaps, obstacles and duplications in Services.

The mission of the Office of Minority Health is to improve the health of all racial and ethnic Indiana populations through increased awareness, partnerships, and the development and promotion of effective health policies and programs that help reduce health disparities among minorities.

OMH Programs:

  • Indiana Minority Health Plan
  • Interagency Council on Black and Minority Health
  • Faith-Based Response to COVID-19
  • Community Health Worker Initiative
  • EMPOWERED 2 Get Fit


Long-standing systemic inequalities in health and society have put people from many racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk for COVID-19. Before the pandemic, various studies already showed that minority groups suffered from a higher rate of chronic diseases. The impact of COVID-19 has exacerbated existing health conditions and affected efforts to mitigate the pandemic.

Side effects of the virus include: increased domestic violence, increased behavioral/mental health issues and exacerbated conditions in people with mental and/or substance use disorders (SUD). In Indiana, there is only one mental health professional for every 500 people and one in 3,000 for black people.

People with mental disorders and SUD are 2-6 times more likely to have co-occurring chronic physical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, than people without behavioral health conditions (McKenzie & Company, 2020). Additionally, the most aggressive rise in opioid-related death rates in recent years has been seen in the state’s black population.

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