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2015 | 2014
Every October, our nation is awash in a sea of pink. Everywhere we look we see pink as a reminder of survival and that our fight against breast cancer is not over yet. In my family, as in other families impacted by this disease, it is a reminder of perseverance and of our ability to press on until we find a cure.
When Maria Schinstock’s father was diagnosed with diabetes, she asked him to move closer to her so she could help him manage his condition and day-to-day activities. He eventually moved closer to Maria, but by that time his diabetes was in an advanced stage. Taking care of her terminally ill father made her more aware of the lack of information and support patients with chronic illnesses received in her community. This awareness also influenced her work as a promotora de salud, or community health worker.
Zika is a frightening disease few people had heard of until recently. Over the last few months, many Americans have become aware of the virus, spread by mosquitoes that if acquired during pregnancy can cause microcephaly (babies born with small heads) and other severe fetal brain defects. A few weeks ago, Harris County Public Health (HCPH) announced that the first child in the state of Texas was born with Zika-related microcephaly. The mother contracted the disease in Colombia, but gave birth at a one of our local hospitals. Our thoughts and prayers are with the child and family who are dealing with this heartbreaking consequence of the spread of the Zika virus.
Achieving a nation free of disparities in health and health care extends beyond the walls of federal offices. As we deepen our reach into this current era of public health, we step into an age of a greater understanding of the factors upon which better health is built—the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live and age. This knowledge underscores our goal in building stronger relationships and alliances that achieve better health outcomes for all communities by bolstering the efforts of our partners.
Every day, more than 75 people in our country die from a prescription drug or heroin overdose. In 2013, nearly 249 million prescriptions were written for opioids—enough for every adult in America to have a bottle of pills. A significant factor in the opioid epidemic is legally written prescriptions from doctors, dentists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
Earlier this year, when the word “Zika” was just becoming known in the U.S., promotores de salud, also known as community health workers (CHWs), in Miami, Florida were already taking action and learning about the prevention and control of mosquito-borne diseases. In February, the Miami Dade Florida Health Department convened a community meeting that resulted in a call for more multilingual community education and awareness of Zika.
Summary: The 100-Day Challenge will help catalyze community action to establish bold, creative, and innovative ways to help homeless youth find stable housing.
The largest study ever to investigate how genetic and biological factors contribute to breast cancer risk among black women launched today. This collaborative research project will identify genetic factors that may underlie breast cancer disparities. The effort is funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health.
The effects of incarceration are felt far beyond prison walls: Children, families and communities also experience the consequences of incarceration. New research estimates that more than 5 million children, or 7 percent of all children in the United States, have had a parent in prison at some point during their childhood. Though every family’s story is different, many struggle with financial strain, stigma and discrimination, and the challenges of getting back to normal after a family member returns home from incarceration.
Si está embarazada o piensa empezar una familia, probablemente ya sabe que el estrés durante el embarazo es normal. Pero mucho estrés no es saludable. El surgimiento del virus del Zika puede ser otra razón de inquietud para las mujeres embarazadas o que tratan de quedar embarazadas.
Each year, more than 700,000 individuals, the vast majority of them men, return to communities throughout the U.S. after serving time in federal and state prisons, and another 11.4 million cycle through local jails. Research shows that, within three years of their release, as many as two-thirds of those who have completed their sentences are likely to be re-arrested, and within five years the proportion increases to three-fourths.
At the heart of the Caribbean-American community is a sentiment to never forget your roots. A new life filled with opportunity greets many who journey to the mainland United States, but they never forget those whom they love and cherish back in their homeland. This is a sentiment that I, as the daughter of Haitian immigrants, reflect on during this Caribbean American Heritage Month.
As a former track and field sprinter, I still remember and admire my high school track coach whom we affectionately call “Mr. Z.” He helped me to experience some of sports’ great life lessons — leadership, teamwork, and perseverance — and a love of being fit and healthy. This June, sports fans have been served up a buffet of major events that exemplify all of these lessons: the NBA Finals rematch, the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Centennial Copa America, the French Open, the U.S. Open golf championships, and of course, the NCAA Track and Field Championships.
That's right. With what we choose to do today — whether it's standing by our game-changing ideas or using our voices to stand up for our communities — we are helping build a healthier and happier generation of women and girls. As women, I believe it's our responsibility to stand together and build on what those before us have done so that we can continue to make strides toward improving the well-being of women and girls.
Ten years ago, I was invited to participate in the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Summit in California to present Research Challenges for Small Populations: The Pacific Islander Case. The experience was transformative—I found myself in the midst of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) elders and leaders passionately committed to social justice and improving conditions for Pacific Peoples. The discussions that day confirmed the need to show that the health needs of small populations matter. And with that, I began a journey inspired by NHPI stakeholders to advocate for high quality disaggregated data—data that teases out granular information—on the NHPI population.
In many families, there comes a time when our parents are no longer be able to care for themselves independently and require assistance to handle their daily activities. In several cultures, including Asian heritage, caring for aging parents is a rite of passage. For many individuals of Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander descent, respecting and caring for one's parents, also referred to as filial piety, is an important family value that extends across many cultures and generations.
May is Lupus Awareness Month and on May 20th specifically, health advocates and those directly or indirectly impacted by the disease called lupus will Put On Purple to raise awareness and to support the millions of people who are affected by the disease. For far too long, many Americans have remained unaware that more than 1.5 million people, mostly women, are affected by lupus, and that it is the leading cause of kidney disease, stroke, and heart disease.
The work of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health is rooted in a resounding call sounded more than thirty years ago to address the racial and ethnic health disparities that plague our nation. It was then, in Health, United States 1983 (the annual report card on the nation’s health) that then HHS Secretary Margaret M. Heckler took note of significant disparities that existed between non-Hispanic whites and racial and ethnic minorities despite evidence that showed improvements in the health and longevity of all Americans.
If you’re pregnant or you’re thinking about starting a family, then you probably know that stress during pregnancy is normal, but that too much stress is not healthy for your pregnancy. The emergence of Zika virus can be an additional unsettling consideration for those who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
Growing up: We all have to do it. Jury duty, income taxes, oil changes, retirement savings — there's a lot to being an adult that no one warns you about. But at some point, you realize that you're in control of your life. You have the skills and smarts to tackle anything that comes your way. All you have to do is take charge.
During National Reentry Week, April 24-30, 2016, our nation will focus on the future of individuals who are returning to communities after serving time in federal and state prisons and local jails. This focus will extend across many sectors – employment, education, housing, criminal justice, and transportation – all of which impact health. And all Americans, including those who have been formerly incarcerated and have paid their debt to society, should have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
In just a matter of weeks, proud parents, family, and friends in every corner of the nation will gather to watch their high school seniors graduate. Predictable warm weather and speeches that may run a bit too long will be of little note as an estimated3.3 million young women and men earn their diplomas and embark upon their future pursuits.
Millions of Americans are gaining health coverage every year. Between 2013 and 2014, African Americans and Latinos saw the largest declines in uninsured rates. During the 2016 open enrollment period, over 2.2 million individuals of color selected plans through the Marketplace. Getting coverage is a big accomplishment, but it is just the first step. Regardless of your race or ethnicity, taking advantage of your coverage so you and your family stay healthy is an equally important step.
Today, in conjunction with the release of the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Second Year Report, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report that highlights states and local communities that are taking important steps to address expulsion and suspension in early learning settings. The actions profiled in the report, range from passing new legislation to restrict expulsions and suspensions in preschool programs and revising regulations to improve the social-emotional supports children in child care programs receive, to expanding coaching programs - such as early childhood mental health consultation- that prevent expulsion and build teacher capacity in supporting children's development.
Yesterday the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released Eliminating the Public Health Problem of Hepatitis B and C in the United States: Phase One Report, which affirms that it would be possible to eliminate hepatitis in the U.S. with the right resources, commitment, and strategy. Importantly, the report also concluded that in the short term, disease control — a reduction in the incidence and prevalence of hepatitis B and C and their consequences — is feasible.
We invite all communities to learn more about National Minority Health Month, and resources to help promote this observance and events in your community
Twenty-five years ago, on April 15, 1991, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) was born. ACF was created to bring together a wide range of programs for children, families and communities, under a single division of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Since the start of the crisis, more than 30 Commissioned Corps officers have been on the ground.
Summary: Today, the White House Initiative on AAPIs reflects on the progress we’ve made to improve the lives of Pacific Islanders.
National Minority Health Month video message from J. Nadine Gracia, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
America is often described as the land of opportunity because of the untold possibilities that await those who seek its treasures. Women’s History Month in March is an opportune time for all women to awaken and pursue their highest potential. And there are great examples that line the path of our nation’s history, from a woman who discovered a new medical breakthrough to one who motivated a classroom of students to press on toward success, to the mother who worked tirelessly to care for her family.
Under the Obama Administration, the Department of Justice has taken major steps to make our criminal justice system more fair, more efficient, and more effective at reducing recidivism and helping formerly incarcerated individuals contribute to their communities. An important part of that task is preparing those who have paid their debt to society for substantive opportunities beyond the prison gates, and addressing obstacles to successful reentry that too many returning citizens encounter.
Summary: On this last day of Black History Month and the second anniversary of his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, the President is sharing his response to a mother from Florida.
Summary: On the two year anniversary of My Brother's Keeper, MBK Task Force Chair Broderick Johnson reflects on MBK's impact across the country and on the work still underway.
In 2014, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Health Assembly unanimously adopted resolution WHA67.6 [PDF 152 KB], which urged Member States and the WHO Director-General to enhance efforts in viral hepatitis surveillance, prevention, treatment access, and disease control. This resolution tasked the WHO with assessing the feasibility of elimination targets for hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) viruses. As a result, the WHO is developing a Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis, 2016-2021, due to be released later this year, to guide global action and supplement existing activities in addressing viral hepatitis.
Dr. Lurie is leading administration efforts to ensure Flint families have access to safe water & services to mitigate any harmful impacts of lead contamination.
As we continue to celebrate Black History Month and the legacy of black history as part of our American history, we reflect upon the legacy of the National Urban League which has been saving our cities for over a century, focusing on the economic empowerment of African Americans and other underserved communities. With its 90 plus affiliates across 36 states, the National Urban League has served African Americans in the key areas of jobs, justice and education since the Great Migration to today–but has also been a leader in civil rights. Historically civil rights has also included the right to quality and affordable healthcare.
Black History Month is a time to celebrate the many black Americans who have made an impact on our nation. It’s a reminder of how far we have come as a country, and a call for the work still ahead.
Here at HHS, we’re working on a number of initiatives to advance health equity and bridge the gaps in health and well-being that still are too prevalent for the black community.
Last week, I traveled to Flint to hear from members of the community about the challenges that they are facing and to share information about the federal government’s work to respond. And I had the chance to meet Cynthia, a working mom with a 6-year-old son. Cynthia had heard about Flint’s water on the news, but she didn’t think going to the doctor was something she needed to do. And working two jobs made it hard to find the time.
Every February, we celebrate Black History Month – a time to reflect, celebrate, and honor the contributions of African-Americans to our society. We know that achieving and maintaining good health is a long-standing issue for this group, many of whom may experience worse health outcomes in critical areas like heart disease and diabetes. But, we want to focus on the positive and provide consumers with health education materials to support healthy behavior changes!
February is American Heart Month, an ideal time to highlight heart health to the communities you serve. Not only does February contain Valentine’s Day, it comes shortly after the holiday season, when we tend to eat too much rich and sweet food. It’s in February when individuals may struggle to stay committed to their New Year’s resolutions. American Heart Month offers an opportunity for you to double your efforts to improve heart health in your community and encourage those you serve to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle.
If you are like most American women, you began the New Year with a desire to lose weight. You’re one month into your journey and, you may have uttered “I just can’t find time to work out,” “I hate sweating,” or “I’m having a good hair day, I’ll hit the gym tomorrow.” If your New Year’s resolution to exercise and achieve a healthy weight is already losing steam, know that you are not alone and know it is critical to stay the course—your life depends on it.
When Lusi Maumau’s husband changed jobs, they lost their health insurance. They went uninsured for months – scrimping and saving for a basic doctor’s visit and praying that no medical emergency would hit them.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, they were able to review their options with someone in their community and find a plan that worked for them. Lusi found a plan that provided the quality health care coverage her family needed, and was truly affordable.