Blog: National Partnership for Action
Posted on 12/30/2013 by J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE
As 2013 comes to a close, it is with great pleasure that I share with you the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) 2013 Report to Congress on Minority Health Activities . As called for under Section 10334 of the Affordable Care Act, the biennial Report to Congress on Minority Health Activities summarizes the programs, policies, and initiatives of agencies across HHS that address minority health and health disparities. This 2013 Report to Congress demonstrates our Department’s commitment to eliminating health disparities and achieving health equity. Since the inaugural 2011 Report to Congress, all of the individual Offices of Minority Health have been established, and the leadership of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has appointed permanent directors of their respective Offices of Minority Health. In addition, the Office of Minority Health has been elevated to the Office of the Secretary and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities within the National Institutes of Health has been elevated to an Institute. Together, the directors of the Offices of Minority Health and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, along with the HHS Health Disparities Council, are providing strategic coordination of HHS efforts in disparities reduction and health equity. Furthermore, under the leadership of our Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, HHS released its first-ever Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in 2011. The HHS Disparities Action Plan is the most comprehensive federal commitment to reducing health disparities and charges all HHS agencies and offices to heighten the impact of their policies and programs to reduce health disparities. This strategic action plan builds on the foundation of the Affordable Care Act with the goals of transforming health care, strengthening the nation’s health and human services infrastructure and workforce, advancing the health, safety and well-being of the American people, advancing scientific knowledge and innovation, and increasing the efficiency, transparency, and accountability of HHS programs. It represents an unprecedented time of coordination and collaboration across the Department and with our partners to achieve the vision of “a nation free of disparities in health and health care”. In this time of historic transformation of health and health care in our nation, we face a remarkable moment of opportunity to end health disparities that have impacted minority communities for far too long and to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential for health. To read the 2013 Report to Congress on Minority Health Activities, please click here.
Posted in: NPA Reports Minority Populations Health Disparities | Comments | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
Posted on 7/12/2013 by Tyler White
'Clean air' is a concept that resonates with Akeelia Adams-Smith, a mother of two living in the north side of St. Louis, MO. She and her children suffer from asthma and symptoms that are often triggered by poor air quality. Akeelia has started following recommendations to ensure that her family has healthy air quality within their living space, and is now taking action to reduce outdoor pollution.
Akeelia is one of many concerned African American parents in her community. According to a study by the St. Louis Regional Health Commission, black children in north St. Louis are approximately seven times more likely to visit the emergency room for asthma than white children.
Akeelia and others shared their stories during the Clean Air Health Fair on April 27 to raise awareness around the issue of air quality. The event was hosted by Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis with support from the National Climate Action Plan, and the Heartland Regional Health Equity Council under the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities, led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. The fair, which was attended by public officials, advocacy groups, academics and local faith leaders, was designed to raise awareness about climate change and how it will impact the health of St. Louis residents, with special attention to air quality.
Speakers included EPA's Region 7 Administrator, Karl Brooks, who highlighted the link between the changing climate and poor environmental conditions, such as reduced air quality. Spurred by the commitment that President Obama made during his second inauguration to minimize the health impacts of climate change, Mr. Brooks emphasized a renewed commitment by the EPA and other federal agencies.
Other speakers included Rev. Earl Nance Jr. of Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, Dr. Roger Lewis of St. Louis University, St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman and Akeelia Adams-Smith. Whether from a faith-based organization, academia, public service or the community, the speakers united under the common goal of promoting scientific literacy and minimizing the impacts of climate change and poor air quality.
The remarks of each speaker were extremely encouraging, conveying broad and scientifically complex topics in a way that was relevant to the specific needs of the community. Moreover, the active engagement of the attendees with speakers and organizers represented the type of dialogue that gathers people from all walks of life to address the multi-faceted causes of health disparities.
Several organizations and partnerships committed to addressing climate change and asthma in the St. Louis area participated in the event. Through handouts, trivia and conversations, community members and church attendees received facts on climate change and air quality. More importantly, they received resources and information on steps they can take to minimize their energy consumption and protect their health and the health of their loved ones. Among the resources provided were mattress covers, water bottles, guidelines for home weatherization, example emergency plans for extreme heat and weather events, and instructions on checking air quality and minimizing asthma triggers.
The organizations providing helpful information at the fair included:
Get involved with environmental awareness initiatives in your community! Find out more about this issue on the Healthy People 2020 website or the Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Justice webpage.
Posted in: NPA Reports Health Minority Populations OMH NPA Partners Promising Practices Successful Events HHS Health Disparities Partnership Federal African American Health Care Health Equity Minority Health | Comments | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
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The NPA works to achieve health equity -- the highest level of health for all people. This blog is a venue for professionals from all fields and sectors to share their thoughts on pressing issues, news and events pertaining to health equity. Follow and participate in this candid discussion.
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