Mary Kathryn "Kate" Stewart, MD, MPH, directs the OCBPH, which
reports directly to the Dean. This office works to develop and maintain close
partnerships with selected communities which may serve as models for
community-based participatory public health programs; provide resources for
faculty, staff, and students for research and service programs; participate in
the development of grants; and conduct funded research projects.
Recognizing that eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities will require
collaborative solutions to bring communities and institutions together, the
Kellogg Foundation developed the Engaged Institutions Initiative. The Kellogg
Foundation defines engaged institutions as those that "invest in lasting
relationships with communities to influence, shape, and promote the success of
both the institution and the community". The goal of the initiative is to
develop strategic action plans for becoming fully engaged.
Leaders within our OCBPH (Dr. Kate Stewart and others), our
Assistant Dean for Minority Affairs (Dr. Eduardo Ochoa), our Assistant Dean for
Government Relations and Special Projects (Willa Sanders, MPA), other members of
the COPH and representatives from other UAMS Colleges formed an ad hoc Health
Disparities Taskforce in January 2005 to examine methods for eliminating health
disparities among UAMS' many programs. The focus has largely been on UAMS'
clinical and educational programs, addressing barriers to health care access as
well as enhancing cultural sensitivity in educational programs.
The INSP is Mexico’s recently-accredited school of public health. When they
announced their interest in forming a partnership with 1-2 accredited schools of
public health in the US, the UAMS COPH quickly realized that faculty and student
exchanges and collaborative research programs with INSP concurred with our goals
of enhancing our cultural competence and ability to address the needs of
Mexican-Americans in Arkansas.
Arkansas has only one public health agency, the DOH, with a central, state
office, located less than two blocks from the COPH, and at least one local
health unit in each of the state's 75 counties. Leadership in the DOH were
instrumental in advocating for creation of the COPH, since they foresaw the COPH
as being critical for improving the health of Arkansans. With the creation of
the COPH, this vision has progressed, and a number of key collaborations
continue to develop, including shared positions, cross-training of students and
employees, and collaborative programs.
The Arkansas General Assembly created the Arkansas Minority Health
Commission in 1991 to address racial and ethnic health disparities. The Mission
of the Minority Health Commission is to assure all minority Arkansans access to
health care that is equal to the care provided to other citizens of the state,
to provide health education, and to address, treat, and prevent diseases and
conditions that are prevalent among minority populations.
The CHP was created at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with
funding provided by the CDC as part of their Prevention Research Centers (PRC)
program. With a focus on community-based participatory programs to address
racial and ethnic health disparities, the CHP developed into a center
encompassing more than 150 faculty from 10 of the 12 UAB schools, other academic
institutions including the state's HBCUs, the Alabama Department of Public
Health, and community partners.