State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced her recent appointment to the Ohio Commission on Minority Health (OCMH). As a board member, Sykes will work to support the commission’s efforts to address health disparities among minority populations, including the infant mortality rate for African Americans. According to the Ohio Department of Health, African American babies die at roughly twice the rate of white babies in Ohio.
“Ohio’s African American and other minority communities face unique and ongoing health challenges that require dedicated resources and action,” said Sykes. “It is an honor to be selected to serve as a member of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health. I believe that this collaboration—between OCMH, the state legislature, and our community healthcare providers and partners—is an important step towards closing the gap in minority health outcomes and creating a healthier Ohio for all working people.”
Since being elected to the state legislature, Sykes has worked diligently to address health disparities among minority Ohioans. She recently introduced House Bill 514, legislation to require health care professionals to complete instruction in cultural competency in order to receive or renew their license, certification or registration. The Akron lawmaker also gave the keynote speech at the OCMH’s Kickoff Event for Minority Health Month in April.
Established in 1987, the Ohio Commission on Minority Health was the first freestanding state agency in the nation to develop a concerted approach to address the disparity that exists between the health status of minority and non-minority populations. The commission seeks to alleviate such health disparities through innovative and culturally sensitive strategies, public health promotion, legislative action and public policy and systems change.