Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative

The African & American Friendship Association for Cooperation and Development, Inc., in partnership with Women’s Initiative for Self Empowerment, Inc. and International Institute of Minnesota, Inc., has been awarded a grant of $200,000 for one year from the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health to implement a project under the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative.

The proposed Project will utilize foreign trained healthcare professionals from minority communities of color in Minnesota to provide health literacy education, advocacy, health services navigation, and medical interpretation in the immigrant communities. The aim of the Project is to provide opportunities for participants to acquaint themselves with the US medical culture, as well as encourage and support them to process their license to practice in Minnesota. Participants in this program are also required to provide four community education and empowerment programs to minority communities of color in Minnesota. The long-term goal of the Project is for foreign trained healthcare professionals to be integrated into Minnesota's healthcare system to provide cultural and linguistically appropriate healthcare services to encourage use of primary care and decrease health disparities.

On Saturday, September 25, 2010, I was invited to provide a health literacy training for a group of 22 foreign trained health care professionals representing more than a dozen countries. The highlight of the training was when participants were asked to share an action plan with realistic activities they could do to help empower their communities. The Minnesota Health Literacy Partnership will continue to provide resources and support to this program as they work to improve the health literacy of their communities.

Alisha Ellwood

Chair, Minnesota Health Literacy Partnership

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