SIDS Program Manual SIDS & Infant Death Program Manual and Trainer's Guide Trainer's Guide

Risk Reduction Education

Campaign Components

Resources for Working With Minority Communities

The Office of Minority Health Resource Center
In 1985, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) established the Office of Minority Health (OMH). OMH advises the Secretary of HHS and the Office of Public Health and Science on public health program activities affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

OMH operates the OMH Resource Center (OMHRC), which serves as an information and referral service on minority health issues for professionals, community groups, consumers and students. It assists the Office of Public Health Services and OMH in distributing scientifically-valid and culturally-competent health information, encourages public participation in HHS programs and assists in conducting health campaigns.

The National Center for Cultural Competence
The National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) SUID/SIDS Project is designed to increase the capacity of SUID/SIDS programs to plan, implement and evaluate culturally- and linguistically-competent service delivery systems as a multifaceted approach to addressing the disparities in infant mortality outcomes. The project works to support the infusion of cultural and linguistic competency into approaches to eliminating these disparities. The SUID/SIDS Project has three goals that guide its work:

  1. Promote networking and information exchange among programs concerned with SUID/SIDS at the national, regional, State and local levels.
  2. Foster linkages among SUID/SIDS programs at all levels to enhance the development of cultural and linguistic competence.
  3. Provide training, technical assistance and consultation to advance the state-of-theart in delivery of SUID/SIDS related services and the development of policies and practices that support cultural and linguistic competence.

Linguistic Competence and Health Literacy
Linguistic competence is the ability of health care stakeholders to effectively address the language and cultural needs of the public. Communication barriers and cultural differences between providers and families may lead to poorer treatment adherence and disease management.

Health literacy is the ability to read, understand and act on health care information. Often, health education materials are written at reading levels that are too high for those who speak English as a second language.

When providers speak a different language than their patients, it is likely that diagnostic and treatment barriers will occur.4 Parents may also conceal their inability to understand a physician. In 2001, a survey of adults found that minority populations are more likely to have difficulties communicating with health care providers compared to the White population.5 This may be because 14 percent of the nation’s population speaks a language other than English at home. In New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Honolulu, Newark and El Paso, more than 40 percent speak a language other than English. Although only 31 percent of Hispanics were born outside the United States, 77 percent report Spanish as the main spoken language at home.6

The National Adult Literacy Survey has found that non-Whites, immigrants, the elderly and those with low incomes are more likely to have difficulty understanding health education information.7