Health Disparities: State Laws


Health Disparities DoctorHealth disparities refer to the gaps in quality of health status and health care that exist. Many factors contribute to disparities including inadequate access to care, quality of care, genetics and personal behaviors. There are other factors that can harm one’s health as well. Examples include living in an area that has poor environmental conditions (e.g., violence, bad air quality, and inadequate access to healthy foods), inadequate personal support systems, and illiteracy or limited English proficiency. These factors are often associated with racial and ethnic minority, rural, disabled, and underserved communities.

Policymakers are responding to these issues by enacted legislation aimed at eliminating health disparities. The laws listed below represent state actions taken since 2005 to address the social determinants of health and are aimed at eliminating health disparities for all underserved populations. 

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Health Disparity State Laws


Statute | Session | Law

  • Ala.Code § 16-47-124- Establishes a student loan program for medical students who commit in writing to practice in a medically underserved area in a generalists specialty following graduation.

  • Ala.Code § 16-47-126- Establishes a student loan repayment program for medical students who practice in a medically underserved area following graduation.

  • Ariz. Rev. Stat. §15-1643- Establishes the Arizona health education system in the college of medicine at the University of Arizona. One of the purposes of the system is to develop programs to recruit and retain minority students in health professions.

  • Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 15-1721 et. seq.- Establishes a medical student loan fund for students agreeing to practice in medically underserved areas and/or with medically underserved populations.

  • Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 15-1751- Provides that the University of Arizona school of medicine shall give priority consideration to applicants who demonstrate a willingness to practice in medically underserved areas of the state.

  • Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 36-2172- Creates the primary care provider loan repayment program in the department to pay off portions of education loans taken out by licensed physicians, dentists and mid-level providers who contract with the department of health services to practice in a federally designated health professional shortage area.

  • Ark. Code § 6-5-801 et. seq.- Establishes the "Health Care Student Summer Enrichment Program for Underrepresented Student Populations" within the Department of Higher Education. The program is an intensive six-week program aimed at increasing awareness of medical career opportunities for racial and ethnic minority undergraduate students.

  • Ark. Code § 6-60-212 Allows for public colleges and universities to give special consideration to, and carry out recruitment activities of students interested in nursing or other health related fields from medically underserved areas.

  • Ark. Code § 6-64-406  The Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas shall give additional consideration to applicants to the College of Medicine from rural medically underserved areas in an effort to address health disparities.

  • Ark. Code § 17-80-301 et. seq. Requires appointing authorities for state health-related agencies, boards, and commissions to consider appointment recommendations submitted by minority health-related professional associations in order to ensure that minority health issues and cultural competency are represented in health policy decisions.

  • Ark. Code § 19-12-114 Instructs the Arkansas Minority Health Commission to establish and administer the Arkansas Minority Health Initiative for screening, monitoring, and treating hypertension, strokes, and other disorders disproportionately critical to minority groups in Arkansas.

  • Ark. Code § 20-2-101 et. seq. Established the Arkansas Minority Health Commission to address health disparities in the state.

  • Ark. Code § 20-15-1801 et. seq. Established the Arkansas HIV-AIDS Minority Task Force to study ways to strengthen HIV prevention programs, address the needs of those living with HIV and AIDS, and develop specific strategies for reducing the risk of HIV and AIDS in the state's minority communities.

  • Cal. Business & Professional Code § 852- Establishes the Task Force on Culturally and Linguistically Competent Physicians and Dentists to develop continuing education programs that include foreign language training for physicians and dentists. The task force will also assess the need for voluntary cultural and linguistic competency certification standards.

  • Cal. Government Code § 8310.5 Requires any state agency, board, or commission which directly or by contract collects demographic data as to the ancestry or ethnic origin of Californians to use separate collection categories and tabulations for each major Asian and Pacific Islander group as set forth in this section.

  • Cal. Government Code § 8310.7 Requires the Departments of Industrial Relations and Fair Employment and Housing to collect and publish the demographic data established in § 8310.5 on the web site of the agency on or before July 1, 2012, and annually thereafter.

  • Cal. Health & Safety Code § 124174.6- The department will establish a grant program within the Public School Health Center Support Program to provide technical assistance, and funding for the expansion, renovation, and retrofitting of existing school health centers, and the development of new school health centers. The department shall give preference for funding to the following schools: schools in medically underserved areas, schools with a high percentage of low-income and uninsured children and youth, and schools with large numbers of limited English proficient (LEP) children and youth.

  • Cal. Insurance Code § 10133.8- Requires insurance providers to provide appropriate access to translated materials and language assistance. The regulations include an assessment of the needs of the insured group and surveying the language preferences and needs of the insured. The insurer is required to translate vital documents; the number of languages required depend on the size of the population. The insurer is required to inform limited-English-proficient insured of the availability of interpreter services.

  • Cal. Health & Safety Code § 128330 et. seq.- The Office of Statewide Health and Planning shall establish the Health Professions Education Foundation. The members may include representatives of minority groups that are underrepresented in the health professions and health professionals. One of the goals is to offer scholarship or loans to African-American, Native American, Hispanic-American students and other students from underrepresented groups accepted to or enrolled in schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, or other health professions.

  • Cal. Health & Safety Code § 124174 et. seq.- Establishes rules regarding and some funding for public school health centers. This law recognizes the role of student health centers in reducing health disparities.

  • Cal. Health & Safety Code § 1568.15 et. seq.- Alters the composition of the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Committee and requires a review of state policies related to the disease. It recognizes the need to serve non-English speakers and ethnically diverse populations.Cal. ACR 114 (Risk Factors and Commission) Establishes a Task Force on Diabetes and Obesity to study factors contributing to the high rates of diabetes and obesity in Latinos, African-Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans.

  • Cal. Code § 1300.67.04- Requires health insurance plans to provide language assistance to enrollees. The law requires service plans to provide translations for vital documents. The number of languages documents must be translated into depends on the enrollment size of the plan and linguistic makeup of the enrollees.

  • Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 2190.1-  Requires cultural competency training to be a part of the continuing education requirements for licensure of physicians and surgeons.

  • Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 150 et. seq.- Establishes the Office of Multicultural Health within the State Department of Public Health. The office will work towards closing health status gaps among racial and ethnic minorities. Responsibilities of the office include developing a strategic minority health plan, providing cultural and linguistic competency training to health professionals, and providing assistance to help other public and private entities locate funding sources for multicultural health initiatives.

  • Cal. Health & Safety Code § 106000 et. seq.-  Established the Urban Community Health Institute: Centers to Eliminate Health Disparities at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science to address the problem of disparate health care in the Los Angeles County Service Planning Area (SPA 6) and other multicultural communities

  • Cal. Health & Safety Code § 127875 et. seq.- Creates the Health Professions Career Opportunity Program designed to increase the number of ethnic minorities in health professional training and increase the number of minority health professionals practicing in medically underserved areas.

  • Col. Rev. Stat. § 25-4-2203- Establishes the Health Disparities Grant Program within the Department of Public Health and Environment to provide financial support for statewide initiatives that address prevention, early detection, and treatment of cancer and cardiovascular/pulmonary diseases in underrepresented populations.
  • Col. Rev. Stat. § 25-4-2204 et. seq.- Creates the Office of Health Equity within the Department of Public Health and Environment to serve in a coordinating, educating, and capacity-building role for state and local public health programs and community-based organizations. Outlines powers and duties, including promoting health equity in Colorado by implementing strategies to address the varying causes of health disparities, including economic, physical and social environment; providing public education on health equity, health disparities and the social determinants of health. 
  • Col. Rev. Stat. § 25-4-2206- Establishes the Health Equity Commission to advise the Department on Public Health and Environment on issues relating to health equity, specifically focusing on alignment, education and capacity building for state and local health programs and community-based organizations. The commission shall be dedicated to promoting health equity and eliminating health disparities. 
  • Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10a-109b- Requires the University of Connecticut Health Center to include a health disparities institute that to enhance research and the delivery of care to minority and medically underserved populations of the state. The law also requires an institute for clinical and translational science to be located on the campus of The University of Connecticut Health Center.

  • Conn. Gen. Stat. § 2-122- Establishes the Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission. This commission, among other topics, should address any issues dealing with access to health care or mental health and addiction services.

  • Conn. Gen. Stat. § 4-124dd- Establishes the Connecticut Allied Health Workforce Policy Board to monitor and improve the capacity of the state’s current allied health workforce. Among other duties, the board is required to develop recommendations for promoting diversity in the allied health workforce, including, but not limited to, racial, ethnic, and gender diversity.

  • Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17b-306- The Commissioner of Social Services, in consultation with the Commissioner of Public Health, shall develop a plan for a system of preventive health services for children under the HUSKY Plan, Parts A and B. The goal of the system shall be to improve health outcomes for all children enrolled in the HUSKY Plan and to reduce racial and ethnic disparities among children.

  • Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-10b- Requires that medical professionals applying for licensure renewal after October 1, 2010 must have at least one contact hour of continuing medical education or training in cultural competency.

  • Conn. Gen. Stat. § 38a-1051- Establishes a Commission on Health Equity with the mission of eliminating disparities in health status based on race, ethnicity, gender and linguistic ability, and improving the quality of health for all of the state's residents.

  • Del. Code Ann. tit. 16 § 9908- The Board of Directors of the Delaware Institute of Medical Education and Research shall serve as an advisory board to the Health Care Commission. One of the Board’s multiple responsibilities is to develop a recruitment program to encourage medical school applications from minorities and residents of rural counties and underserved areas of Delaware. 

  • Del. Code Ann. tit. 16 § 196- Establishes the Delaware Healthy Mother and Infant Consortium. One of the tasks identified for the Consortium is to Coordinate efforts to address health disparities related to the health of women of childbearing age and infants.

  • Fla. Stat. § 20.43- establishes the Office of Minority Health within the Department of Health.

  • Fla. Stat. § 381.0403- Establishes a program to provide financial support for primary care specialty interns and residents in order to promote practice in medically underserved areas of the state and encourage racial and ethnic diversity of the state’s physician workforce.

  • Fla. Stat. § 381.4018- The Department of Health shall serve as a coordinating and strategic planning body to actively assess the state’s current and future physician workforce needs. The department must also develop strategies that would provide monetary incentives for physicians to relocate to underserved areas of the state.

  • Fla. Stat. § 381.7351 et. seq.- Creates the Reducing Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities: Closing the Gap Act grant program to stimulate the development of community-based and neighborhood-based projects which will improve the health outcomes of racial and ethnic populations.

  • Fla. Stat. § 381.91- Establishes the Jessie Trice Cancer Prevention Program to Reduce the rates of illness and death from lung cancer and other cancers and improve the quality of life among low-income African-American and Hispanic populations through increased access to early, effective screening and diagnosis, education, and treatment programs.

  • F.S.A. § 381.911 Authorizes the University of Florida Prostate Disease Center, in collaboration with other organizations and institutions, to establish a prostate cancer council to replace the existing advisory committee. The council will be tasked with the objective of, but not limited to minimizing prostate cancer disparities through outreach and education.

  • Fla. Stat. § 383.2162- Creates the Black Infant Health Practice Initiative. The initiative shall include reviews of infant mortality in select counties in this state in order to identify factors in the health and social services systems contributing to higher mortality rates among African-American infants.
  • Fla. Stat. § 409.147- Provides for the designation of "children's zones" where children in disadvantaged areas can be provided with a more positive educational and social environment. Among the goals of these zones is to eliminate health disparities between racial and cultural groups.

  • Fla. Stat. § 641.217- Requires any entity contracting with the Agency for Health Care Administration to provide health care services to Medicaid recipients or state employees on a prepaid or fixed-sum basis must submit to the Agency for Health Care Administration the entity's plan for recruitment and retention of health care practitioners who are minorities.

  • Fla. Stat. § 765.5155- Recognizes of a need to reach out to minority populations to increase organ donor registrations.

  • Fla. Stat. § 1009.68- Establishes the Florida Minority Medical Education program to provide scholarships to minority students to encourage the pursuit of medical education at state schools for the purpose of addressing the primary health care needs of underserved groups.

  • Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 321-1.5 Establishes within the Department of Health a Primary Health Care Incentive Program that will investigate and analyze the extent, location, and characteristics of medically underserved areas, and the numbers, location, and characteristics of medically underserved persons in Hawaii, and develop a strategy for meeting the health needs of those populations based upon the findings.

  • Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 371-34 Requires state-funded entities to provide free language services.

  • Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 321-1.5 Establishes a primary health care incentive program within the department of health to study the adequacy, accessibility, and availability of primary health care with regard to medically underserved persons in the State of Hawaii and to develop a strategy for meeting the health needs of those  populations.

  • HR 143, SCR 143, and SR 79 2012- Requests that the Governor direct all state departments to comply with the United States Office of Management and Budget’s Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, “Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics and Administrative Reporting,” which separates the “Asian and Pacific Islander” category into two categories entitled “Asians” and “Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders.”

  • Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 20 § 5/5-565- Requires the State Board of Health to deliver to the Governor, for presentation to the General Assembly, a State Health Improvement Plan which includes priorities and strategies for reducing and eliminating health disparities in areas such as racial and ethnic, gender, age, socio-economic, and geographic disparities, by January 1, 2016 and every 5 years thereafter. 

  • Ill. Ann. Stat. Ch. 110 § 925/2- The Illinois Department of Public Health will establish a program to encourage minority students to enroll in and complete dental school in the state.

  • Ill. Ann. Stat. Ch. 110 § 978/5-) The Illinois Department of Public Health will establish a program providing grants to podiatric medicine residency programs, scholarships to podiatry students, and a loan repayment program for podiatrists who will agree to practice in underserved areas of the state. Minority students shall be given preference for scholarships.

  • Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 20 §2310/2310-215- Establishes a Center for Minority Health Services to advise the Department of Public Health on matters pertaining to the health needs of minority populations. 

  • Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 20 § 4075/20- Creates the Commission on Children and Youth Act. Among the factors stated for the Commission to consider in creating a five year plan are disparities in access and outcomes based on racial, ethnic, geographic, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and other variables.
  • Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 20 § 2310/2310-216- Establishes the Culturally Competent Healthcare Demonstration Program aimed at improving the quality of health care for ethnic and racial minorities.

  • Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 20 § 2310/2310-76- Amends the Department of Public Health power and duties, creating the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion task force. Particular emphasis is placed on addressing health disparities and targeting high-risk populations, especially in communities where racial, ethnic and socioeconomic factors contribute to higher incidence of chronic disease.

  • Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 20 § 2310/2310-210- The Advisory Panel on Minority Health to assist the Department of Public Health in matters relating to minority health.

  • Ind. Code § 16-46-11-1 et. seq.-  Directs the state department of health to develop and implement a state structure more conducive to addressing the health disparities of the minority populations in Indiana including: monitoring minority health progress; funding minority health programs, research, and other initiatives; staffing a minority health hotline; developing and implementing an awareness program that will increase the knowledge of health and social service providers to the special needs of minorities; and developing and implementing culturally and linguistically appropriate health promotion and disease prevention programs.

  • Ind. Code § 16-46-6-1 et. seq.- Establishes the Interagency State Council on Black and Minority Health within the state Department of Health.

  • Ind. Code § 16-19-14-1 et. seq.- Establishes the Office of Minority Health within the state Department of Health. This chapter expires July 1, 2014.

  • Ind. Code § 4-12-5-4- Subject to appropriation, monies from the Indiana Health Care Trust Fund may be distributed to one or more programs, including: health care services and preventive measures that address the special health care needs of minorities; Addressing minority health disparities; and Expanding community based minority health infrastructure—among others.

  • Ind. Code §  12-15-44.2-14- Any insurer or a health maintenance organization that contracts with the state to provide health insurance coverage under the Indiana Check-Up Plan must incorporate cultural competency standards.  

  • Iowa Code Ann. § 135.12- Establishes the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health within the Department of Public Health.

  • Iowa Code Ann. § 135.158- Establishes the purposes of a “medical home”. Included in the stated purposes is to reduce disparities in health care access, delivery, and health care outcomes.

  • Kan. Stat. Ann. § 74-3266- Creates a scholarship program for Kansas undergraduate students enrolled in or admitted to an accredited school of osteopathic medicine in a course of instruction leading to the degree of doctor of osteopathy; and who upon graduation agree to practice in a rural area or a medically underserved area.

  • Kan. Stat. Ann. § 74-32,131 et. seq.- Establishes the Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Service Scholarship Program for students who agree upon completion of an advanced registered nurse practitioner program, to practice in a rural area or medically underserved area.

  • Ky. Rev. Stat. § 205.201 Outlines the duties of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which includes, but is not limited to: Preparing an annual report for the Legislative Research Commission which contains an overview of the health status of minority elderly Kentuckians and identifies specific diseases and health conditions for which the minority elderly are at greater risk than the general population.

  • Ky. Rev. Stat. § 216.2920 et. seq.- Provides guidelines for health data collection. Included are requirements for evaluating the status of women's health including data on ethnicity and reporting on the special health needs of the minority population in odd-numbered years, identifying the diseases that affect this population disproportionately and provide recommendations to address this disparity.

  • La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:1817- The Board of Supervisors of Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College may create and operate an office or offices of minority health. Funding for any such office shall be subject to legislative appropriation.

  • La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 40:2195.6- Requires the Department of Health and Hospitals to establish primary health care clinics in each of the rural parishes in the state if and when one hundred percent federal funding becomes available for this purpose. The purpose is to expand primary health care and medical services to rural areas and develop greater access to health care for the underprivileged, working poor, and minorities.

  • La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 46:978.1 et. seq.- The Department of Health and Hospitals shall develop and implement a medical home system of care for Medicaid recipients and the low-income uninsured citizens of the state with the purpose of providing a coordinated continuum of care, the cost of the current health care delivery system shall be reduced, health outcomes shall improve, and the disparities in access to health care among the state's populations shall be reduced.

  • La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:2048.51- Establishes the Louisiana Health Works Commission within the Department of Education. The commission is to study and make recommendations on programs to recruit and retain health care professionals in the Louisiana workforce; models for predicting the supply and demand for health care workers in the state; and incentives for health care workers to practice in Louisiana's medically underserved areas.

  • La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 40:1300.132- Requires the Department of Health and Hospitals to adopt a series of regulations and payment methodologies intended to fully reimburse federally qualified health centers (FQHC) so that FQHC’s may retain primary health professionals and continue providing health care services in medically underserved areas.

  • La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 46:2731- Establishes the "Health Trust Fund" within the state treasury. Among the approved purposes for monies from the fund are: health workforce development and retention, disease specific treatment programs, and expanding access to health care services in medically underserved areas.

  • House Resolution 146, 2012- Creates a study committee to examine and make recommendations with respect to the structure of the African American family as it relates to education outcomes, socioeconomic factors, and health disparities. Requires the study committee to report to the House Committee on Health and Welfare by March 1, 2013. 

  • Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22 § 412- The Statewide Coordinating Council for Public Health must have representation from populations in the State facing health disparities.

  • Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22 § 413- The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Statewide Coordinating Council for Public Health, the district coordinating councils for public health and Healthy Maine Partnerships shall undertake a universal wellness initiative to ensure that all people of the State have access to resources and evidence-based interventions in order to know, understand and address health risks and to improve health and prevent disease. A particular focus must be on the uninsured and others facing health disparities.

  • Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22 § 2097- Members of the Maine Dental Health Council must include, in addition to health professionals, 5 interested citizens representing a balance of diverse socioeconomic groups and geographic locations, who may not be employed in the dental health or medical care professions.

  • Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 1-214- Requires health occupations boards to collect specified racial and ethnic information. Requires that, to the extent practicable, members of health occupations boards reasonably reflect the geographic, racial, ethnic, and cultural and gender diversity of the state.

  • Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 1-216- The health occupations boards authorized to issue a license or certificate under this article shall develop collaboratively a training process and materials for new board members that include training in cultural competency.

  • Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 13-1115- Establishes a Baltimore City Community Health Coalition that includes representatives of community-based groups, including minority and medically underserved populations. The purpose of the Coalition is to identify all existing cancer prevention, education, screening, and treatment programs, evaluate those programs, and develop a comprehensive plan for cancer prevention, education, screening, and treatment in Baltimore city.

  • Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 15-143- Requires the Governor to include in the budget bill for fiscal year 2008 at least $3,000,000 in General Fund State support for an immigrant health initiative to provide health care services for all legal immigrant children under the age of 18 years and pregnant women who meet program eligibility standards and arrived in the United States on or after August 22, 1996.
  • Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 18-1001 et. seq.- Requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene coordinate with the Maryland Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities to develop a plan to address Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C viruses that disproportionately affect minority populations in the state. Requires the Maryland Health Care Commission to examine research findings surrounding health disparities and the most effective treatment for African Americans with Hepatitis C.

  • Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 19-1A-01- Requires the Health Care Commission to establish a Patient Centered Medical Home Program. The commission is charged with ensuring that a participating patient centered medical home provides ongoing culturally and linguistically appropriate care for the purpose of reducing health disparities.

  • Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 19-134- Requires the Maryland Commission on Health Care to compile data on Minority Health and Health Disparities and publish its findings in the "Health Care Disparities Policy Report Card" as required under § 20-1004(22).

  • Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 19-2101 et. seq.- Establishes the Maryland Community Health Commission to increase access to health care through community health resources. The commission membership must have geographic balance and promote racial and gender diversity.

  • Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 20-901 et. seq.- Encourages the inclusion of courses or seminars that address the identification and elimination of health care services disparities of minority populations as part of: curriculum courses or seminars offered or required by institutions of higher education; continuing education requirements for health care providers; and continuing education programs offered by hospitals for hospital staff and health care practitioners.

  • Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 20-1001 et. seq.- Establishes the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities. Outlines the duties and responsibilities of the office. Requires the office to work collaboratively with universities, public health and social work programs, and allied health to create courses focusing on cultural competency, sensitivity and health literacy.  

  • Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 20-1301 et. seq.- Establishes the Cultural and Linguistic Health Care Professional Competency Program with the purpose of incorporating cultural and linguistic abilities into therapeutic and medical evaluation and treatment.

  •  Md. Health-General Code Ann § 20-1401 et. seq.- Creates the Health Improvement and Disparities Reduction Act of 2012.  Requires the secretary of mental health and hygiene to designate certain areas as Health Enterprise Zones, and to adopt an evaluation and reporting system for racial and ethnic health disparities.   

  • Md. Insurance Code Ann. § 27-914- Prohibits the use of specified racial or ethnic information to deny or otherwise affect a health insurance policy.


  • Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 6A § 16O- Establishes a health disparities council within, but not subject to the control of, the executive office of health and human services. The purpose of the council is to make recommendations to reduce and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in access to quality health care and in health outcomes within the commonwealth.

  • Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 6A § 16K- Establishes a health care quality and cost council within, but not subject to control of, the executive office of health and human services. The purpose of the council is to promote public transparency of the quality and cost of health care in the commonwealth, and to seek to improve health care quality, reduce racial and ethnic health disparities and contain health care costs.

  • Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 23H § 9- Establishes a health professions worker training grant program for the purpose of responding to the need for workers in various health care professions.

  • Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 40J § 6D- Establishes an institute for health care innovation, technology and competitiveness, to be known as the Massachusetts e-Health Institute. Included in the outlined duties, the institute director shall prepare and annually update a statewide electronic health records plan and an annual update thereto. Each plan is to be focused on community-based implementation, particularly for providers such as community health centers that serve underserved populations, including, but not limited to, racial, ethnic and linguistic minorities, uninsured persons, and areas with a high proportion of public payer care.

  • Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 111 § 4O-- Subject to appropriation, the commissioner shall appoint a dental director who shall oversee the department of public health dental program to increase access to oral health services, oral health prevention activities and other initiatives to address oral health disparities.

  • Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 111 § 25L- Establishes a health care workforce center within the Department of Public Health to improve access to health care services and to coordinate the department's health care workforce activities with other state agencies and public and private entities involved in health care workforce training, recruitment and retention. 


  • Mich. Comp. Laws § 333.2707- Establishes a grant program for minority students enrolled in medical schools, nursing programs, or physician's assistant programs.

  • Mich. Comp. Laws § 333.2721- Establishes the minority health profession grant fund as a separate fund within the state treasury, to be administered by the Department of Public Health.

  • Mich. Comp. Laws § 333.2227- Sets forth the Powers and duties relating to racial and ethnic health disparities for the Department of Public Health.


  • Minn. Stat. § 62J.495- By January 1, 2015, all hospitals and health care providers must have in place an interoperable electronic health records system within their hospital system or clinical practice setting. Among the stated goals is to improve the quality and coordination of health care and continuity of patient care among health care providers, to reduce medical errors, to improve population health, to reduce health disparities, and to reduce chronic disease.

  • Minn. Stat. § 62J.496- Establishes an account to finance the purchase of certified electronic health records or qualified electronic health records, enhance the utilization of electronic health record technology, train personnel in the use of electronic health record technology; and improve the secure electronic exchange of health information. Among the eligible borrowers are entities that serve uninsured, underinsured, and medically underserved individuals, regardless of whether such area is urban or rural.

  • Minn. Stat. § 137.38- The Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, through the University of Minnesota Medical School, is requested to implement initiatives designed to encourage newly graduated primary care physicians to establish practices in areas of rural and urban Minnesota that are medically underserved.

  • Minn. Stat. § 137.42- It is a goal of the state to reduce tobacco use among youth and to promote statewide and local tobacco use prevention activities to achieve this goal. Subdivision 6c states that the Commissioner of Health must give funding priority to programs that addresses disparities among populations of color related to tobacco use and other high-risk health-related behaviors. Subdivision 8a prioritizes smoking cessation activities in low-income, indigenous, and minority communities.

  • Minn. Stat. § 144.1501- Establishes a health professional education loan forgiveness program account. Eligible recipients include medical residents agreeing to practice in designated rural areas or underserved urban communities.

  • Minn. Stat. § 145.928- Sets forth the goal of eliminating health disparities as part of the state’s Community health Services and establishes a program to close the gap in the health status of American Indians and populations of color as compared with whites in the following priority areas: infant mortality, breast and cervical cancer screening, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections, adult and child immunizations, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and accidental injuries and violence.

  • Minn. Stat. § 145.986- The commissioner of health shall award competitive grants to community health boards established pursuant to section 145A.09 and tribal governments to convene, coordinate, and implement evidence-based strategies targeted at reducing the percentage of Minnesotans who are obese or overweight and to reduce the use of tobacco.

  • Minn. Stat. § 145A.14- The commissioner may make special grants to furnish health services for migrant agricultural workers and their families in areas of the state where significant numbers of migrant workers are located; and to establish, operate, or subsidize clinic facilities and services to furnish health services for American Indians who reside off reservations. Also provides $1,500,000 per year is available to tribal governments for maternal and child health activities, activities to reduce health disparities, and emergency preparedness.

  • Minn. Stat. § 256.962- Establishes a statewide campaign to raise public awareness on the availability of health coverage through medical assistance, general assistance medical care, and MinnesotaCare and to educate the public on the importance of obtaining and maintaining health care coverage. As part of the program, the Commissioner of Human Services is directed to award grants to organizations for outreach activities, including, but not limited to targeting geographic areas with high rates of eligible but unenrolled children, including children who reside in rural areas; or racial and ethnic minorities and health disparity populations. 


  • Miss. Code Ann.  § 37-144-1 et. seq. - Establishes the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program designed to recruit, identify and enroll undergraduate students who demonstrate necessary interest, commitment, aptitude and academic achievement to pursue careers as family physicians or other generalist physicians in rural or medically underserved areas of Mississippi.  

  • Miss. Code Ann. § 41-3-61- The State Board of Health is required to adopt guidelines applicable to physician practices, nurse practitioner practices and physician assistant practices in Mississippi that incorporate the principles of the patient-centered medical home based upon a number of legislative findings, including that: multiple studies have demonstrated that when minorities have a medical home, racial and ethnic disparities in terms of medical access disappear and the costs of health care decrease.

  • Miss. Code Ann.  § 41-99-1 et. seq.- Establishes the Mississippi Qualified Health Center Grant Program for the purpose of making service grants to Mississippi qualified health centers for their use in providing care to uninsured or medically indigent patients in Mississippi. "Mississippi qualified health center" means a public or nonprofit entity that provides comprehensive primary care services that: (iii) Serves a designated medically underserved area or population, as provided in Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act.

  • Miss. Code Ann. § 41-119-1 et. seq.- Establishes the Mississippi Health Information Network. The powers and duties include the promotion of the use of certified electronic health records technology in a manner that improves quality, safety, and efficiency of health care delivery, reduces health care disparities, engages patients and families, improves health care coordination, improves population and public health, and ensures adequate privacy and security protections for personal health information. This act is repealed effective July 1, 2014. 


  • Mo. Rev. Stat. § 191.980- Establishes the Missouri Area Health Education Centers program to improve the supply, distribution, availability, and quality of health care personnel in Missouri communities and promote access to primary care for medically underserved communities and populations.

  • Mo. Rev. Stat. § 192.040- The department of health and senior services shall compile and issue reports and summaries of accomplishments and projects within the department as may be of benefit and advantage to the public, including information concerning vital and mortuary statistics, respecting diseases, and instructing in the subject of hygiene. Such reports shall include information and statistics on Black health and the mortality of minority groups.

  • Mo. Rev. Stat. § 192.083 et. seq.- Establishes an Office of Minority Health within the department of health and senior services and outlines powers and duties.

  • Mo. Rev. Stat. § 192.350 et. seq.- Establishes the Missouri State Advisory Council on Pain and Symptom Management within the department of health and senior services. Among the duties of the council is to examine the needs of adults, children, the terminally ill, racial and ethnic minorities, and medically underserved populations that have acute and chronic pain and Make recommendations on acute and chronic pain management treatment practices.

  • Mo. Rev. Stat. § 208.533 et. seq.- Establishes a twenty-member Commission on the Special Health, Psychological and Social Needs of Minority Older Individuals under the division of aging with the purpose of identifying the special needs of the minority older population in Missouri as compared to the older population at-large and make recommendations for meeting those needs.  


  • Mont. Code Ann. § 20-26-1501 et. seq.- Establishes a Health Care Provider Incentive Program to pay the educational debts of physicians practicing in rural areas or medically underserved areas or for underserved populations. 


  • Neb. Rev. Stat. § 71-701- Establishes the Women's Health Initiative of Nebraska within the Department of Health and Human Services. Among the powers and duties of the Initiative is to Serve as a clearinghouse for information regarding women's health issues, including but not limited to rural and ethnic disparities in health outcomes.

  • Neb. Rev. St. § 71-1628.07- The Department of Health and Human Services shall establish a satellite office of minority health in each congressional district to coordinate and administer state policy relating to minority health.

  • Neb. Rev. Stat. § 71-7605 et seq. -Creates the Excellence in Health Care Trust Fund which will be used for awarding grants for public health services which target federally recognized Native American tribes in Nebraska and organizations that focus on the health of minority groups. It also requires that the Department of Health and Human Services contract with the health clinics of Nebraska's federally recognized Native American tribes, Indian health organizations, or other public health organizations that have a substantial Native American clientele to provide educational and public health services targeted to Native American populations.

  • Neb. Rev. St. § 85-1,130- Instructed the University of Nebraska Medical Center to develop a plan to increase the number of graduates of the center who specialize in primary care fields, who take residencies in primary care fields, and who establish practices in rural areas and other medically underserved areas of the state.


  • Nev. Rev. Stat. § 232.467 et. seq.- Establishes an Office of Minority Health within the Department of Health and Human Services and outlines powers and duties.

  • Nev. Rev. Stat. § 396.907- Establishes the Area Health Education Center Program within the University of Nevada School of Medicine to support education and training programs for students studying to become practitioners, or residents or practitioners who will provide or are providing health care services in medically underserved areas in this state, including urban and rural areas.

  • Nev. Rev. Stat. § 439.362- Requires that the District Board of Health in counties whose population is 400,000 or more contain two representatives who are physicians licensed to practice medicine in this State, one of whom is selected on the basis of his or her education, training, experience or demonstrated abilities in the provision of health care services to members of minority groups and other medically underserved populations.

  • Nev. Rev. Stat. § 439.491 et. seq.- Establishes the Advisory Committee for the Prevention and Treatment of Stroke and Heart Disease and outlines the powers and duties of the committee. The committee is to make recommendations to the Health Division for the establishment of a comprehensive plan for the prevention of stroke, heart disease and other vascular disease in this State which includes, but is not limited to: recommendations to eliminate disparities in vascular health among populations that are disproportionally affected by stroke, heart disease and other vascular disease.

New Jersey

  • N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:71C-32 et. seq.- Establishes a Primary Care Practitioner Loan Redemption Program within the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority. The program shall provide for the redemption of a portion of the eligible qualifying loan expenses of program participants for each year of service at an approved site located within a state designated underserved area or a health professional shortage area.

  • N.J. Rev. Stat. § 26:2-160 et. seq.- Establishes the New Jersey Office on Minority and Multicultural Health within the State Department of Health and outlines powers and duties.

  • N.J. Rev. Stat. § 26:2-182- Establishes the Task Force on Cancer Prevention, Early Detection and Treatment in New Jersey within the Department of Health and Senior Services and outlines powers and duties of the task force. The duties of the task force include, but are not limited to: closing the gap in cancer mortality rates between the total population and minorities.

  • N.J. Rev. Stat. § 26:2W-1- Directs the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services to establish a Cancer Awareness, Education and Research Program to provide the following: support for cancer medical research; physician education and awareness; and patient education and screening services, particularly for members of minority groups.

  • N.J. Rev. Stat. § 45:9-7.2 et. seq.- Requires that the State Board of Medical Examiners include instruction in cultural competency designed to address the problem of race and gender-based disparities in medical treatment decisions as a condition of receiving a diploma from a college of medicine in this State.

New Mexico

  • N.M. Stat. Ann. § 9-7-4.1- Requires the Department of Health, in conjunction with the New Mexico Health Policy Commission and other state agencies, to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for health that emphasizes prevention, personal responsibility, access and quality. The plan should include, but not be limited to addressing the diseases, injuries and risk factors for physical, behavioral and oral health that are the greatest cause of illness, injury or death in the state, with special attention to and recognition of the disparities that currently exist for different population groups.

  • N.M. Stat. Ann. § 9-7-11.1 Requires the Department of Health and the New Mexico Health Policy Commission to consult with governments of Indian nations, tribes and pueblos in order to develop a strategic plan for health.  The strategic plan is to be published by July 1, 2004 and July 1 of subsequent even-numbered years and will a focus on prevention, personal responsibility, access, and quality. 

  • N.M. Stat. Ann. § 11-18-1 et.seq.-The “State-Tribal Collaboration Act" requires state agencies to adopt practices to promote cultural competency in providing services to American Indians or Alaska Natives and identifies reducing health disparities as a goal.

  • N.M. Stat. Ann. § 21-7-26 et. seq.- Requires the board of regents of the university of New Mexico to establish a primary care physician assistant training program designed to develop and expand physician residencies in family practice, internal medicine, obstetrics, gynecology and pediatrics in rural or other medically underserved areas.

  • N.M. Stat. Ann. § 24-1D-1 et. seq.- Establishes the New Mexico health service corps in the department of health to recruit and place health professionals in rural and other medically underserved areas.

  • N.M. Stat. Ann. § 24-1G-1 et. seq.- Creates the New Mexico Telehealth and Health Information Technology Commission to encourage a single, coordinated statewide effort to create a telehealth and health information technology system. The purpose of the commission includes, but is not limited to addressing the problems of provider distribution in medically underserved areas of the state.  

  • N.M. Stat. Ann. § 24-25-1 et. seq.- Authorizes health care providers in the State of New Mexico to deliver health care services via telehealth technologies in order to provide efficient and effective access to quality health services.

  • Senate Memorial 33 - 2012 - Encourages state agencies to adopt a policy to address institutional racism, as it results in racial disparities with respect to health, education, criminal justice, employment and housing, by January 1, 2013.  

New York

  • N.Y. Public Health Law § 240 et. seq. Establishes an office of minority health within the state department of health and outlines the powers and duties of the office.

  • N.Y. Public Health Law § 900 et. seq.- The primary care education and training act. Authorizes the commissioner of health, in collaboration with the commissioner of education and the president of the higher education services corporation to establish programs for loan repayment, scholarships, and grants to encourage and to increase the increase the number of medical students choosing primary care, and to encourage those students to practice in medically underserved areas. There is also a provision to to encourage minority participation in medicine. 

North Carolina

  • N.C. Gen. Stat.§ 130A‑16- All medical care providers required to report to the Division of Public Health shall collect and document patient self‑reported race and ethnicity data and shall include such data in their reports to the Division.

  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 130A-33.43 et. seq.- Establishes the Minority Health Advisory Council in the Department of Health and Human Services and outlines the powers and duties of the council.


  • Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 183.18- Establishes the public health priorities trust fund in the state treasury. Money credited to the fund shall be used for, but not limited to the following purposes: Minority health programs, on which not less than twenty-five per cent of the annual appropriations from the trust fund shall be expended.

  • Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 185.01 et. seq.- Establishes the Patient Centered Medical Home Education Pilot Project. As a part of the project, the patient centered medical home education advisory group is directed to work with all medical and nursing schools in this state to develop appropriate curricula designed to prepare primary care physicians and advanced practice nurses to practice within the patient centered medical home model of care. The curricula is to include, but not limited to, components that reflect, as appropriate, the special needs of patients who are part of a medically underserved population, including medicaid recipients, individuals without health insurance, individuals with disabilities, individuals with chronic health conditions, and individuals within racial or ethnic minority groups.

  • Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3701.78- Establishes a commission on minority health promote health and the prevention of disease among members of minority groups.


  • Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 625.1 et. seq.- Establishes the Oklahoma Rural Medical Education Loan and Scholarship Fund. The fund is to be administered by the Physician Manpower Training Commission.

  • Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 697.1 et. seq.- Establishes the Physician Manpower Training Commission to establish and administer cost-sharing programs for internship and residency physician training. Not less than fifty percent (50%) of the subsidy for these programs shall be used in the training of primary health care and family/general practice physicians for the rural and medically underserved areas of the state.

  • Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 697.9- Establishes the Community Preceptor Physician Training and Work Experience Scholarship Fund. The fund is to be administered by the Physician Manpower Training Commission.


  • Or. Rev. Stat. § 413.250- Establishes the Statewide Health Improvement Program within the Oregon Health Authority to support evidence-based community efforts to prevent chronic disease and reduce the utilization of expensive and invasive acute treatments. Subject to funding, the Authority may award one or more grants to support community-based primary and secondary prevention activities that include, but are not limited to reducing health disparities among populations.

  • Or. Rev. Stat. § 431.375- Directs the Department of Human Services to contract for provision of maternal and child public health services with the tribal governing council of recognized Indian tribes that request to receive funds under certain federal grant programs.

  • Or. Rev. Stat. § 442.466- Directs the Administrator of the Office for Oregon Health Policy and Research to establish and maintain a program that requires reporting entities to report health care data for purposes including, but not limited to evaluating health disparities.

  • Or. Rev. Stat. § 676.400- In order to achieve the goal of universal access to adequate levels of high quality health care at an affordable cost for all Oregonians, regardless of ethnic or cultural background, the legislature directs health professional regulatory boards in the state to establish programs to increase the representation of people of color and bilingual people on the boards and in the professions that they regulate.

  • Or. Rev. Stat. § 442.550 et. seq.- Establishes the Primary Care Services Program, to be administered by the Office of Rural Health, pursuant to rules adopted by the office. The purpose of the program is to provide loan repayments on behalf of naturopathic physicians, physicians, physician assistants, dentists, pharmacists and nurse practitioners who agree to practice in a qualifying practice site.


  • Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 35 § 5701.901 et. seq.- Establishes the Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement Program within the Department of Health of the Commonwealth. Priorities for the program are to be set by the Department and shall include the identification of critical research areas, disparities in health status among various Commonwealth populations, expected research outcomes and benefits and disease prevention and treatment methodologies.

  • Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 62 § 5001.1301 et. seq.- Establishes the Primary Health Care Practitioners Program within the Department of Health to increase the availability of primary health care practitioners to rural and inner-city designated medically underserved areas of this Commonwealth.

Rhode Island

  • R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-1-43- Directs the director of health to establish a minority population health promotion program to provide health information, education, and risk reduction activities to reduce the risk of premature death from preventable disease in minority populations.

  • R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-14.1-1 et. seq.- Establishes the health professional loan repayment program for physicians, dentists, dental hygienists, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, physician assistants and any other eligible health care professional under who desire to serve the health care needs of medically underserved individuals in Rhode Island.

  • R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-64-1 et. seq.- Establishes the Commission for Health Advocacy and Equity.

South Carolina

  • S.C. Code Ann. § 11-11-170- Establishes the Healthcare Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund and specifies that only interest earnings may be appropriated and used for, but not limited to disease prevention and elimination of health disparities: diabetes, HIV/AIDS, hypertension, and stroke, particularly in minority populations.


  • Tenn. Code Ann. § 3-15-401 et. seq.- Creates the health equity commission within the legislative department and sets forth the powers and duties of the commission.

  • Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-1-117- Establishes a program at Meharry Medical College School of Medicine to develop resources for recruiting, training and deploying physicians for service in areas of Tennessee with disadvantaged and medically underserved populations.

  • Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-1-2201 et. seq.- Establishes the Office of Minority Health within the Department of Public Health and sets for the powers and duties of the office.


  • Tex. Human Resources Code Ann. § 2.001 et. seq.- Establishes the Interagency Council for Addressing Disproportionality. One of the stated goals for the council is to assist the Health and Human Services Commission in eliminating health and health access disparities in Texas among racial, multicultural, disadvantaged, ethnic, and regional populations. This chapter expires December 1, 2013.

  • Tex. Education Code Ann. § 51.711 et. seq.- Establishes the medical and health care professions recruitment fund for the purpose of recruiting underrepresented ethnic minorities to programs of health care professions at institutions of higher education.

  • Tex. Education Code Ann. § 58.001 et. seq.- Provides that each resident physician being educated and trained at an accredited school of medicine shall be compensated by that school. Priority consideration is to be given to applicants who demonstrate a willingness to practice in medically underserved areas of Texas.

  • Tex. Education Code Ann. § 63.301 et. seq.-Establishes the permanent fund for minority health research and education to provide grants to institutions of higher education, including Centers for Teacher Education, that conduct research or educational programs that address minority health issues or form partnerships with minority organizations, colleges, or universities to conduct research and educational programs that address minority health issues.

  • Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 107.001 et. seq.- Establishes the Health Disparities Task Force and sets forth the powers and duties of the task force.

  • Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 107A.001 et. seq.- Directs the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission to maintain an office for the elimination of health disparities in the Health and Human Services Commission and sets forth the powers and duties of the office.

  • Tex. Government Code Ann. § 487.201 et. seq.- Creates the Medically Underserved Community-State Matching Incentive Program where medically underserved communities may sponsor a physician by contributing start-up money for the physician and having that contribution matched wholly or partly by state money.

  • Tex. Government Code Ann. § 487.251 et. seq.- Establishes the Texas Health Service Corps Program for Medically Underserved Areas to assist these communities in recruiting and retaining physicians.

  • Tex. Government Code Ann. § 487.451 et. seq.- Creates the Community Healthcare Awareness and Mentoring Program for Students to identify high school students in rural and underserved urban areas who are interested in serving those areas as health care professionals and partnering them with health care professionals to act as positive role models, mentors, and reference resources.

  • Tex. Government Code Ann. § 487.551 et. seq.- Establishes the Rural Communities Health Care Investment Program to provide loan reimbursement and stipends for health professionals who serve in those communities.


  • Utah Code Ann. § 9-9-104.6- Provides that the American Indian-Alaskan Native Health Liaison may participate in at least three of the joint meetings described in Subsection 9-9- 104.5(2)(a).

  • Utah Code Ann. § 26-7-2 et. seq.-  Establishes the Office of Health Disparities Reduction within the Utah Department of Health to address multicultural and minority health issues in the state. Subject to budget constraints, the executive director shall appoint an individual as the American Indian-Alaskan Native Health Liaison.

  • Utah Code Ann. § 26-7-2-  Establishes the Center for Multicultural Health within the Utah Department of Health to address multicultural and minority health issues in the state.

  • Utah Code Ann.§ 26-10b-101 et. seq.- Subject to appropriations specified by the Legislature for this purpose, the department may make grants to public and nonprofit entities for the cost of operation of providing primary health care services to medically underserved populations.


  • Va. Code § 32.1-14- Requires the State Board of Health to submit an annual report to the Governor and General Assembly which includes, but is not limited to statistics and analysis regarding the health status and conditions of minority populations in the Commonwealth by age, gender, and locality.

  • Va. Code § 32.1-19- Requires the State Health Commissioner to designate a senior staff member of the Department, who shall be a licensed physician, to oversee minority health efforts of the Department.

  • Va. Code § 32.1-122.6:1- Establishes a physician loan repayment program for recent medical school graduates agree to perform a period of medical service in the Commonwealth in a medically underserved area or a health professional shortage area.

  • Va. Code § 32.1-122.7. Establishes the Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority to facilitate the development of a statewide health professions pipeline that identifies, educates, recruits, and retains a diverse, appropriately geographically distributed and culturally competent quality workforce.


  • Wash. Rev. Code § 28B.115.010 et. seq.- Establishes the health professional loan repayment and scholarship program for credentialed health professionals serving in health professional shortage areas.

  • Wash. Rev. Code § 43.20.270 et. seq.- Creates the Governor's interagency coordinating council on health disparities, sets forth the powers and duties of the council, and directs it to develop an action plan and statewide policy to include health impact reviews that measure and address other social determinants of health that lead to disparities as well as the contributing factors of health that can have broad impacts on improving status, health literacy, physical activity, and nutrition.

  • Wash. Rev. Code § 43.70.590- Directs the Department of Health to establish an American Indian health care delivery plan in conjunction with the area Indian health services system and an advisory group comprised of Indian and non-Indian health care facilities and providers.

  • Wash. Rev. Code § 43.80.615- Requires the state Department of Health to establish a multicultural health awareness and education program to train health professionals to care for diverse populations.


  • Wis. Stat. § 250.20- Identifies health disparities reduction and elimination as a long term goal in the state. The law identifies numerous strategies and programs used to achieve this goal. 


This webpage is funded through the support of HHS's Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH), Office of Minority Health.