Tuesday, June 7, 2011

UDOH Creates New ‘Office of Health Disparities Reduction’

(Salt Lake City, UT) – In compliance with Senate Bill 33, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), Center for Multicultural Health has been replaced with the Office of Health Disparities Reduction (OHD).  Dulce Díez, MPH, CHES, has been selected as its manager.

Díez says the new office will have a broader mission than the former Center for Multicultural Health, which focused only on racial and ethnic minority health.  “As the new Office of Health Disparities Reduction, we will continue our commitment to tackling those issues,  but we are also looking for opportunities to uncover and address health disparities by geography and income,” she explained.

“The name of the office reflects a goal that is a top priority for the Utah Department of Health,” said Dr. David Patton, UDOH Executive Director. “Many citizens of our state don’t enjoy the good health outcomes we have come to expect in Utah, but every citizen should have equal opportunities to become healthy.”

Utah recently slipped from 2nd to 7th healthiest state in the nation according to the 2010 America's Health Rankings report.  The United Health Foundation study highlighted geographic health disparities as one of three key Utah weaknesses, along with a shortage of primary care physicians and low funding for public health.  Utah ranked 44th in the "geographic disparity" category, which measures variations in death rates from one county to another.

Morgan, Cache, and Summit counties had the lowest death rates in the state, as well as the healthiest lifestyles.  Duchesne, Carbon, and Beaver counties had the highest death rates.  Rural areas of Utah had a number of problems with health care access. 

Media Contact:
April Young Bennett
(801) 703-0127

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