Program Focus 

Health Planning/Policy Development

Compensation for Second Language - This is a legislative act that was passed in 2001. This legislation allows for a 10 percent pay increase to any employee whose specific job assignment requires the skill to communicate in a language other than English, including American Sign Language, and which skill is required as a secondary minimum qualification by the classification specification for the position occupied by the employee. OMHHD assisted in developing policy for the Department of Health to guide managers in utilizing this legislation.

Limited English Proficiency (LEP) - The LEP Program is based directly on Federal Guidance that states: Individuals who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, speak, write or understand English can be Limited English Proficient, or “LEP.” These individuals may be entitled to language assistance with respect to a particular type of service, benefit or encounter.
Policies - Providing meaningful access to LEP persons will ensure that ADH and LEP beneficiaries can communicate effectively and act appropriately based on that communication. Therefore ADH should take reasonable steps to: 

  • Ensure that LEP persons are given appropriate and adequate information, 
  • Ensure that LEP persons are able to understand that information and 
  • Ensure that LEP persons are able to participate effectively in ADH programs and/or activities, where appropriate.

To assist in the above process, OMHHD has provided each Local Health Unit two sets of “I Speak” cards. These are identification cards that allow LEP beneficiaries to identify their language needs to staff and for staff to identify the language needs of clients. The “I Speak” cards invite the LEP person to identify the language he/she speaks. The policy became effective, Oct. 23, 2007.

Arkansas Minority Barber & Beauty Shop Health Initiative

Hypertension, if left unchecked can lead to heart disease and stroke. One of the primary goals of the Arkansas Department of Health is to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by promoting better management of hypertension.

Mission and Goal:
The mission of the Arkansas Minority Barber & Beauty Shop Health Initiative is to increase public awareness about heart disease and stroke. The goal is to empower minorities to better understand hypertension prevention and management. This initiative will carry out its mission by incorporating Million Hearts™ which will focus on coordinating and enhancing cardiovascular disease prevention activities across the nation to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Million Hearts will promote the "ABCS" of clinical prevention (Appropriate aspirin therapy, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking cessation) as well as healthier lifestyle.

The primary objectives of the Arkansas Minority Barber & Beauty Shop Health Initiative are three-fold:

  • Screen: Provide diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol screening
  • Educate: Teach communities about the importance of proper diet, physical exercise, recognizing signs and symptoms of chronic diseases.   
  • Refer: Refer high risk individuals identified through screening to local health units.

Arkansas Statistics:

  • Almost half of all Arkansas adults have high blood pressure (2007 ARCHES).
  • Heart disease and stroke are the first and fourth leading causes of death in Arkansas.
  • Arkansas has the highest stroke death rate and 6th highest cardiovascular disease death rate in the nation.
  • In 2010, 9,015 deaths occurred due to heart disease and stroke in Arkansas; almost 2,000 of the deaths were among adults younger than age 65 (CDC Wonder).

Heart Disease and Stroke Race:

  • African Americans are most affected by heart disease and stroke contributing to their lower life expectancy.
  • In 2010 in Arkansas, heart disease & stroke rate among African Americans was 22% higher than Whites and 71% higher than Latinos (CDC Wonder).
  • As of 2007, in the U.S., African American adults of both genders were 40% more likely to have high blood pressure and 10% less likely than their white counterparts to have their blood pressure under control.

High Blood Pressure and Age:

  • Hypertension diagnosis occurs at early ages for African Americans compared to their white counterparts.
  • Approximately 75% of the African Americans were diagnosed with hypertension at < 45 years of age compared to 58% of their white counterparts (2009 CDC BRFSS WEAT).

Heart Disease and Gender:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women, killing nearly 422,000 each year in the U.S. In Arkansas 3,448 (47%) women died of heart disease in 2010 (CDC Wonder). Following a heart attack, approximately 1 in 4 women will die within the first year, compared to 1 in 5 men.

Tobacco Use in Arkansas:

  • Smoking, alone, kills more people each year than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined.  For every person in Arkansas who dies from smoking approximately 20 more residents suffer from serious smoking related disease. Compared to non-smokers, smoking is estimated to increase the risk of coronary heart disease 2-4 times, and stroke 2-4 times (CDC Tobacco Data-Statistics). For these reasons it is critical for the Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Program to join with the Arkansas Minority Barber & Beauty Shop Health Initiative.

The Arkansas Department of Health, community partners and numerous volunteers will host the Arkansas Minority Barber & Beauty Shop Health Initiative on Saturday, July 27, 2013 from 9a.m. to 2p.m. at locally owned minority barber & beauty shops, colleges and salons in Pulaski County.  These hair establishments represent a cultural institution of familiarly and trust so this initiative will provide health information traditionally provided in a clinical setting in an environment that is more easily accessible.  This health initiative will use Million Hearts to address hypertension and cardiovascular diseases in African American and Latino populations. During the event, FREE blood pressure checks, blood glucose, body mass index, cholesterol screenings and tobacco cessation information will be provided to salon patrons and employees.  General health literature and educational materials on chronic disease, tobacco prevention, physical activity and nutrition will also be provided.

Participating Locations include:  




Moore Than Enough

9862 Hwy 107

Lois & Ray’s Salon

10301 No. Rodney Parham, Ste. C15 
Little Rock

New Image Salon, Spa & Barber

4501 JFK, Blvd. I
North Little Rock

New Tyler Barber College

1221 Bishop Lindsey Ave.
North Little Rock

Velvatex College of Beauty Culture 1520 MLK Dr.
Little Rock
Dazzling Creations Salon 4310 John Barrow, Rd.
Little Rock
Salón de Belleza Patricia 5319 W 65th.
Little Rock
Panache’ Beauty & Barber Salon 2525 Willow St. 
North Little Rock
Washington Barber College 5300 W 65th St
Little Rock
Trinity Salon 1200 John Barrow Rd., Ste. 302 
 Little Rock

Community Sponsors and Partners include the Arkansas Minority Health Commission, Arkansas Medical, Dental and Pharmaceutical Association, Arkansas State Board of Barber Examiners, Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, Baptist Health and Hola! Media Group. 

Technical Assistance and Training

Cultural Competency Training - OMHHD developed a cultural competency training curriculum in conjunction with the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Campus University Affiliate Program. The curriculum consist of three modules: two address diversity within the individual and the other address problem-solving with an emphasis on poverty issues. Training is now incorporated into the orientation of all new employees.

Data Profile Book - Arkansas Minority Health data profile report on people of Color from 1993 – 1997 provides information concerning the health status of minority populations in Arkansas. Such information is needed to address the health needs and concerns of Arkansas residents at the local, state and regional level. This report contains data for many indicators used in other studies. However, the indicators presented here are by no means exhaustive. The report is designed to make these indicators easily accessible, while at the same time allowing flexibility to users in their selection. To accomplish this, the frequencies of particular events of conditions, along with rates or percentages, are presented in concise tables and graphs. The Healthy People 2010 report will replace this profile booklet, and it will be available for distribution April 2008.

Navigational Resource Guide - This guide was developed to assist the Department in providing services to evacuees of Hurricane Katrina and others requesting services. Copies of this guide are available by contacting OMHHD.

Hispanic Risk Study – This study was designed to determine factors that affect Hispanic utilization of public health services. Based on the opinions of an expert panel comprising members of the Hispanic community and health care professionals conversant with the issues surrounding Hispanic health care, as well as interviews with Arkansas Department of Health professionals who service the Hispanic community, this study examines the factors that affect Hispanic access to public health care in Arkansas. The term “access” is considered to mean participation in and receipt of quality public health care.

Marshall Island Assessment - A community assessment conducted to ascertain the health concerns of the Marshall Island population. Since this initial assessment in 2000, the population of Marshall Islands has continued to increase in the Northwest area of Arkansas. In 2004, ADH conducted a four-county health needs assessment focus group with Marshall Island women. The focus group was facilitated by a Marshallese who works at the Northwest Arkansas Multicultural Center. It was conducted in Marshallese, with two staff members from the University of Arkansas Social Work Research Center, facilitating and/or observing the group. A summary of the major themes were: (1) Northwest Arkansas has the highest concentration of Marshall Islanders outside of their homeland, the Republic of the Marshall Islands; (2) Accessing needed health care services was identified by a majority of the focus group participants as being a problematic concern; (3) Language and cultural barriers, lack of qualified Marshallese translators; and (4) lack of awareness of available health care clinics and services. These were the reasons most frequently cited by members of the focus group regarding the difficulties that many Marshall Islanders experience in attempting to access needed health care services. As a result of this study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came to Arkansas and conducted an Epi-Aid report in 2003-2005. This report is a compilation of work provided by CDC in identifying the current public health burden of select reportable diseases among the Marshallese residing in Northwest Arkansas. On May 2, 2007 an all-day forum was held entitled “Assessing Public Health Strategies Improving Health: Marshall Islanders. The goal of this forum was to facilitate a dialog for participants to have a common understanding of issues, resources, and gaps in order to develop a strategic model for improving healthcare and quality of life among Marshallese in Northwest Arkansas. Information obtained from this meeting will be used to increase awareness of health issues and to seek resources to meet needs. The Marshall Island Health Minister attended the forum to provide current information regarding health. In addition, several staff from CDC/ Epi-Aid attended.

Health Fairs – OMHHD provides assistance to organizations and communities in setting up health fairs and provide health information and promotional aids. Specifically, the OMHHD has developed a Health Fair/Health Fair Event Guidance Manual to assist community organizations in preparing for their health fairs. The manual provides the requestor with information about promotional materials available, contacts for various programs, a request form for internal and external partners to obtain material, speakers and an evaluation of the procedure. This manual can be obtained by contacting OMHHD.

Arkansas Cancer Coalition (ARCC) – ARCC is a statewide network consisting of organizations and individuals. The ARCC mission is to reduce the human suffering and economic burden from cancer for all Arkansas citizens. Activities include the awarding of competitive mini grants for innovative community-based projects, assisting ARCC partners with outreach activities, supporting professional and public education surrounding various cancer topics and planning breast and prostate conferences.

Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus – The Caucus holds yearly conferences to address the problems endemic to minority Arkansans, to resolve issues in planning for the next legislative session and to produce a legislative agenda for the upcoming session. The Caucus’ mission is to foster economic growth throughout Arkansas and to cultivate opportunities for wealth and a higher standard of living for minority and low-income Arkansans. During the 2007 legislative session, the Caucus convened a public roundtable each Wednesday to provide a forum for minority groups to present their programs and/or concerns. The Caucus also convened a monthly “think tank” in order to assist constituents in developing and presenting legislation they wanted to get enacted.

Arkansas Minority Health Consortium - At the recommendation of Senator Tracy Steele, the Consortium focuses on identifying, reviewing and discussing issues related to the delivery of and access to health care services, as well as identifying gaps in the health services delivery systems. The Consortium makes policy and procedural recommendations regarding the availability of services for minority populations. This organization provides a forum for partner updates, information dissemination and legislation recommendation.

Child and Adolescent Service System Program (CASSP) Coordinating Council – The purpose of the CASSP is to develop and monitor a statewide plan for treating children with emotional disturbances. This council focuses on mandating services that are child- and family-centered and its priority is to keep children with their families. Services are community-based, with decision-making responsibility and management at the local and regional level. Services are also culturally and ethnically sensitive to the needs of the clients served.

Cultural Awareness Training Seminars – These seminars are conducted annually for ADH employees to become familiar with the impact of how cultural practices impact the way many of our clients utilize health services. Each year there is a different focus, such as HIV/AIDS and chronic diseases. This seminar was first held in 2006 with a focus on the minority groups in Arkansas, and their cultural practices in reference to health care. This seminar is held during April as part of “Minority Health Month” activities.

Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Taskforce - The Hearth Disease and Stroke Prevention Taskforce consists of 70 members from public and private health organizations. The Taskforce meets twice a year to review the interventions established in the comprehensive heart disease and stroke state plan. The Heart Disease and Stroke Workgroup is a subcommittee of the Taskforce, which was formed to implement, monitor, and support the work of the Taskforce. The goal of the state plan is to improve knowledge of symptoms of heart attack and stroke among Arkansas residents, and increase public awareness of the necessity of and option for rapid response in the case of heart attack or stroke.

Injury Prevention Coalition – The Coalition’s mission is to sustain, enhance and promote the ability of state, territorial and local public health departments to reduce death and disability associated with injuries. The goals of the coalition are to: (1) expand the ability of public health agencies to develop policy; (2) conduct research, and design; (3) implement and evaluate interventions; and (4) provide training and education.

Minority Health Month (April) – The first week of minority health month activities are coordinated with Public Health Week. A joint press conference is held to kick off the weeklong activities. Activities are planned across the state for each day of Public Health Week (i.e. press conference, healthy exercise, cooking class demonstrations and an agency-wide walk). The week ends with A Taste of the World. For this activity each employee is asked to bring a food dish representing their culture to share. It has become the highlight of Public Health Week due to the time set aside to appreciate each other’s culture.

Sickle Cell Disease Foundation (SCDF) - This non-profit organization provides follow-up counseling and support to families with children who have the trait and/or disease. The SCDF is working toward obtaining funding for a health care facility to manage the disease of adults with sickle cell.

Tobacco Prevention Control Program - The Department of Health received funding in 2003 from the CDC to develop a strategic plan for identifying and eliminating disparities related to tobacco use among special populations. A workgroup was established to assist in developing the strategic plan. OMHHD assists in coordinating the activities of this workgroup. The strategic plan has been completed, and will be printed and distributed to all participants. This plan will be available through the Tobacco Program.