Category: Health and Health Care

6 - OMH Health Equity Fellowship: RHEC IX Elderly Health Disparities Project

Information about health disparities among minority elders is growing. Policymakers and practitioners may find it difficult to translate this body of literature into effective and efficient healthcare delivery for minority elders. Easier access to information and programs on various health disparities and social health determinants will enable healthcare professionals, minority advocates, policymakers and practitioners to make better decisions on key issues that minority elders will face in the near future.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health launched a Youth Health Equity Model of Practice (YHEMOP) Health Equity Fellowship Program during Summer 2016. As part of this program, the Regional Health Equity Council in Region IX (RHEC IX) partnered with San Francisco State University’s Gerontology Program to conduct a comprehensive literature analysis on elderly health disparities and to produce an annotated bibliography of key peer-reviewed articles, audiovisual resources and data websites.  An executive summary (factsheet) was drawn from this annotated bibliography and directed to relevant funding agencies and legislators with recommendations for their consideration and implementation in Region IX (Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii, and the Islands: American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau).  The results of this research will be discussed with 2018 Healthy Aging Summit  participants.


Martin C. Blanco

MPH Candidate
George Washington University

Martin understands the importance of independence and mobility within the senior population. He has earned his B.S. in Kinesiology and his M.A. in Gerontology at San Francisco State University (SFSU). He is completing an MPH degree in Health Policy at The George Washington University. His dedication in working with the elderly is evident from research projects at SFSU, Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), and Office of Minority Health. Some of his research projects are: promoting the National CLAS Standards in support of Office of Minority Health (OMH) and completing a health equity project by producing a document that highlights case studies of OBHE grantee programs that are implementing the National CLAS Standards to improve behavioral health, focusing on health disparities among minority elders. He also worked with San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center (SFVAMC). In this clinical study, Martin worked as field research assistant and exercise instructor exploring the impact of exercise and dementia. He is certain integrating that with gerontology is fundamental in helping the elderly. Along with his background in kinesiology and public health, he believes that early intervention and strong aging policies can play a major role in maintaining health and quality of life among the elderly.

Darlene Yee-Melichar

Professor and Coordinator
San Francisco State University

Dr. Darlene Yee-Melichar has been a university professor for almost 30 years at three major state university systems including York College-City University of New York, University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston, and San Francisco State University of the California State University system. She has taught and closely mentored hundreds of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students on their research papers, master’s theses and doctoral dissertations for a single course or for the entire degree. She has also closely mentored junior and mid-level faculty in biology, educational leadership, health sciences, gerontology, and in the health and human service professions on their retention, promotion and tenure files over the years. She has high expectations that have often led to successful outcomes for all involved.

Dr. Yee-Melichar is co-chair of RHEC IX’s Elderly Health Disparities Subcommittee and a member of RHEC IX’s Steering Committee. She is Professor and Program Director of Gerontology at San Francisco State University where she also serves as Coordinator of Long-Term Care Administration and Director of the Health, Mobility and Safety Lab. Her research interests in healthy aging, long-term care administration, minority women’s health, and safety research and education are reflected in 4 books, 107 journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, technical reports, and numerous professional and scholarly presentations.

Dr. Yee-Melichar was appointed to the NIH Advisory Committee for Research on Women's Health, NIH Review Committee for Research Enhancement Awards Program, and AHRQ special emphasis panels on "Translating Research Into Practice" and "Health Research Dissemination." She chaired the U.S. DHHS-OWH Minority Women’s Health Panel of Experts, and contributed to the U.S> DHHS-Region IX Women’s Health Advisory Council and the U.S. DHHS-Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Advisory Panel on Outreach and Education.

Dr. Yee-Melichar currently serves as PI/PD on seven grants, on five Editorial Boards of peer-reviewed journals, and continues to serve on the Board of Directors for the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. She is a Charter Fellow of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, Fellow of the AAHPERD Research Consortium, and Full Member of Sigma Xi, the national research society.