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National Minority Health Month

This April as a nation, we commemorate National Minority Health Month with a focus on how we are working to accelerate health equity for the nation. The theme for National Minority Health Month 2017 is “Bridging Health Equity Across Communities”. Everyone in America should have the chance to live a healthy life, regardless of whom they are and where they live. Racial and ethnic minorities continue to lag behind other populations in many health outcomes. They are less likely to get the preventive care they need to stay healthy, more likely to suffer from serious illnesses, such as diabetes or heart disease, and when they do get sick, are less likely to have access to quality health care. National Minority Health Month received support from the U.S. Congress in 2002, with a concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 388) that “a National Minority Health and Health Disparities Month should be established to promote educational efforts on the health problems currently facing minorities and other health disparity populations.” The resolution encouraged “all health organizations and Americans to conduct appropriate programs and activities to promote healthfulness in minority and other health disparity communities.”¹

Healthy People 2020 defines health equity as the “attainment of the highest level of health for all people. Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities. Over the years, efforts to eliminate disparities and achieve health equity have focused primarily on diseases or illnesses and on health care services. However, the absence of disease does not automatically equate to good health.²

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