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April is National Minority Health Month

See what Adventist HealthCare's Center on Health Disparities is doing to help break down health disparities among minority populations.

April is National Minority Health Month, which is an important time to recognize the wide range of health disparities that exist among minority populations in our community and to learn ways that we can help reduce those disparities.

Research shows that diabetes, heart disease and cancer are among the chronic diseases more common among racial and ethnic minority groups nationwide:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mexican Americans have an 87 percent higher risk of having diabetes compared to non-Hispanic whites, and in general, Latinos are two times more likely to die from the disease than non-Hispanic whites.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health identifies heart disease as the leading cause of death for racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S.  
  • African Americans have a 30 percent higher death rate for cancer than whites, according to the CDC.

In our region, statistics coincide with national data showing that African Americans suffer a greater burden of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Additional health disparities that affect minority groups include insufficient prenatal care and high infant mortality.

According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in our state:

  • Death rates for African Americans are 2.1 times higher for diabetes, 1.3 times higher for heart disease and 1.2 times higher for cancer than that of whites.
  • Between 2004 and 2008, the percentage of pregnant Hispanic or Latino women who received late or no prenatal care was 3.5 times higher than that of white women.
  • Between 2004 and 2008, American Indians or Alaska Natives had a 1.8 times higher infant mortality rate than whites.

To help eliminate local health disparities in health care, established the Center on Health Disparities in 2007, which works to raise community awareness, improve capacity, and develop solutions for health care providers and patients.

Throughout the month of April, the Center on Health Disparities will be featuring a series of videos focusing on the diseases more common among minorities and helpful tips for reducing one’s risk, as well as information on the center’s most recent projects aimed at creating health equity for all. Become a “fan” of our Facebook page and watch the videos here: http://www.facebook.com/HealthDisparities

One of the Center’s most recent projects is called “Beat IT!” (Becoming Empowered Africans through Improved Treatment of Diabetes, Hepatitis B, and HIV/AIDS). Last fall, the federal Office of Minority Health awarded the center a $200,000 grant to design curricula to improve health outcomes of African immigrants through the development of culturally competent training tools.

Watch the video above to learn more.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jeff Hawkins April 16, 2012 at 11:54 AM
I think this is more of an economic issue. Well to do "minorities" probably fair better than poor "whites". You want minorities to be in better health (including whites), they then must raise their standard of living. There are though some "races" that are more prone to some maladies than others. Although not mentioned in the article, Scandinavians are more likely to have diabetes than others.
Sofiarun June 28, 2012 at 02:20 AM
There is an urgent need to address the disparity between the various racial groups, because clearly some groups have it better than others. The National Minority Health Month reminds us that there is still inequality between the racial groups, and we must do something to solve this issue. - http://www.uncomfortablefoot.com

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