MHC has service locations in Richmond, Virginia and in the Crater Health District. MHC is a private, not-for-profit organization which has a current and valid IRS 501(c) (3) status. MHC has provided services in Richmond for over ten years. While over 95% of those served by MHC in the past four years have been racial/ethnic minority populations, we more specifically define our specialty as serving “minorities at highest risk for HIV infection”.
MHC was founded in August of 1987 in response to the Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The identification of seven (7) major health problems that caused “excess” deaths among minorities as compared to no-minorities, including cancer, diabetes, infant mortality, homicide, suicide and unintentional injuries, cardiovascular diseases and stroke, chemical dependency and HIV/AIDS (added in 1988) prompted a number of people in the Richmond community to come together to identify and implement minority influenced solutions to the devastating problems that precipitated the negative health outcomes documented in the Secretary’s Task Force Report.
Starting in 2000, MHC began to conduct a program of primary and secondary HIV/AIDS prevention in Richmond and in the Crater Health District on behalf of the Richmond City and Crater District Health Departments. Our past programming has involved the provision of Street/Community Outreach, Group and Individual Level interventions and we have also been involved in a Community Level Intervention focused on providing specialized services to Richmond/Petersburg’s Transgender community.
MHC has for over ten years, focused on accessing the hardest to serve minority populations in the Richmond and Crater Health Districts to provide them with prevention education, behavioral counseling and to link them to the care they needed. Through implementation of targeted street outreach, Mobile Outreach Van (MOV) technology, peer to peer outreach, outreach in non-traditional settings during non-traditional hours, Spanish language outreach, and strategic organizational collaborations, MHC has positioned itself to serve its identified target populations with cultural competence and expertise. We have continued to exhibit an understanding of cultural diversity by adjusting intervention technology to better serve a diverse target population. Implementation of the Mobile Outreach Van (MOV), Spanish language outreach, and collaboration with organizations serving diverse populations has added a significant number of clients (Latino, homeless, MSM, IDU, PLWA) to those served by MHC in recent years. In the summer of 2008, MHC engaged in a self-assessment to better position itself to serve the Latin population.(1) Policy, forms and procedural adjustments were made as a result of the self study to improve service to Latinos. Continuing interaction with our support group serving people living with HIV/AIDS has stimulated changes in the outreach and counseling approaches of the organization as have our consultations with young MSMs attending our James River Boys MSM support group. MHC demonstrates a respect for differences in each of the services we offer and we continue to refine our work to improve our cultural competence and linguistic approach capabilities.
The mission of the Minority Health Consortium is to, with the involvement of the community, public and professional organizations and interested citizens, raise the general level of health of minority persons in the Richmond metropolitan area, through participatory strategies, which enhance healthier lifestyles.