Health & Human Services Department | 389 Congress Street | Portland, Maine 04101 | (207) 874-8633

minority health program staff

Kolawole Bankole, MD, MS
Minority Health Program Coordinator/Access Project Director
Tel 207-874-8773
Fax 207-874-8913

Nelida Berke
Minority Health Program Specialist
Tel 207-874-8452
Fax 207-874-8913

Siyad Ahmed
Somali Community Health Outreach Worker
Tel 207-874-8962
Fax 207-874-8913

Malual Marbur, MD, MSC, DTM&H
Arabic Community Health Outreach Worker
Tel 207-874-8798
Fax 207-874-8913

Jocelyne Ininahazwe, MA
French Community Health Outreach Worker
Tel 207-874-8943
Fax 207-874-8913

The Program maintains health helplines for the Somali and Latino communities. They are available to help people access health services and answer questions about health issues.

Latino health helpline:
Línea de ayuda para su salud: 207-756-8188

Somali health helpline:
Laynka cafimaadka ee caruurta iyo dadka waaweyn: 756-8177


minority health program

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MHP’s Current Initiatives
Minority Health Program Resources

The Minority Health Program (MHP) addresses the health issues and needs of all minority communities in Cumberland County. MHP links people to needed health and social services and improves community health status through Community Health Outreach Workers (CHOWs) and clinical partnerships.

The Minority Populations Served include the following racial, ethnic, and language groups:

• Acholi
• African American
• Arabic
• Chinese
• Farsi
• French
• Khmer
• Nuer
• Russian
• Serbian/Croatian
• Somali
• Spanish
• Swahili
• Vietnamese

MHP’s Vision of a healthy community is one where:

• Diversity within the community is respected and valued by community members and institutions.

• Everyone has access to quality health and social services.

• Everyone has access to resources and conditions required for a healthy lifestyle.

• Institutions and policy makers are responsive to community residents.

• The assets and gifts of community residents are acknowledged and shared.

• Work is conducted in partnership with community organizations and service providers to identify and address health priorities of minority communities.

MHP’s Mission is to:

• Develop and provide evidenced-based public health practices with services that enhance access to quality and affordable health care to improve the well-being of minority communities in Cumberland County.

• Identify, evaluate, and respond to community needs through innovative services.

• Encourage community-clinical collaborations and partnerships through leadership and advocacy.

• Promote quality of care and best practices in our community by providing consultation, education, and training.

• Promote quality of care and best practices in our hospitals and clinics by providing consultation, education, and training.

MHP’s Objectives are to:

• Improve minority community health at the community, family and individual levels.

• Increase capacity of community groups to establish health and well-being priorities and to implement a locally defined community health agenda.

• Strengthen informal and formal social networks and sense of community focusing on the strengths and assets of the Cumberland’s racial, ethnic, and language groups.

• Ensure that institutions, including the Public Health Division, are more accessible and responsive to the community interests by building an integrated channel of information through the establishment of a network of community health outreach workers.

• Active participation in health policy forums, health plans, task forces, workgroups / committees on issues to improve the health for minority groups.

MHP’s Current Initiatives

Access Project: MHP partners with local hospitals and clinics to improve health care access for racial, ethnic, and language minority groups in Cumberland County. It also partners with community-based organizations to implement its programs and activities.

Health Education and Community Engagement: MHP conducts health outreach and education through its network of Community Health Outreach Workers (CHOWs). It has provided education on healthy homes, environmental health, social determinants of health, physical activity, nutrition, vaccination, diabetes, asthma, lead poisoning, and emergency preparedness. The program develops printed materials, videos, and visual displays to spread its messages.

Racial, Ethnic, and Language (REL) Data Collection: As a member of the REL Aligning Forces for Quality, MHP coordinates community understanding of the need for REL data collection and educates service providers on proper REL data collection and usage.

Community-Based Participatory Research: MHP engages with communities to conduct focus groups and implement surveys to identify current and emerging health issues to address.

Policy and Program Initiatives: MHP partners with other local, state, regional, and national agencies and stakeholders to improve health care policies and program initiatives for minority communities.

Training and Community Empowerment: MHP recruits and provides training opportunities for community members to improve their professional capacity to serve their communities. Community members have been trained as Substance Abuse Table Talk facilitators, Chronic Disease Self-Management facilitators, and Emergency Preparedness community representatives.