Blog: National Partnership for Action
Posted on 4/10/2013 by Jonca Bull, MD
The prevalence of chronic diseases and conditions is still significantly higher among racial and ethnic minorities; in 2013, minorities continue to live sicker and die younger. Many of us in the research community work each day to find answers to why these disparities persist. Compounding a number of social, environmental and economic challenges, public health historically has not done a good job of including members of minority groups in important research, or advancing knowledge that provides the possible clinical reasons for health disparities.
A key provision of the Affordable Care Act, Section 4302, was designed to strengthen federal data collection and establish standards for collecting and reporting data on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status. It aims to help researchers, policy makers, health providers and advocates identify, monitor and address health disparities to improve treatment and quality of life.
In my role at FDA and in my previous work as a physician, I have always been committed to addressing health disparities as a dimension of improving the entire health care system. ACA 4302 is an important provision that can have a positive impact on research design and help advance our understanding of health care disparities.
Our mission at FDA is to protect and promote the public's health, serving as both a consumer protection agency and a regulatory agency. We are responsible for ensuring that medical products – drugs, biologics and devices – are safe and effective for their intended use. This includes providing guidance to manufacturers and the review of clinical trial data to ensure that the population included in clinical studies for an investigational product adequately represents the patients likely to be prescribed the product by health care providers. It is critical that careful attention is given to demographic subgroups and health disparities so that the information gathered and analyzed is representative of patients likely to use the product and can be available to inform prescribing decisions if differences are found.
Additionally, FDA provides guidance to product sponsors on diverse representation in research so that any important differences are identified, which may impact safe and effective use. FDA has provided such guidance – Collection of Race and Ethnicity Data in Clinical Trials [PDF | 67KB] – to help medical product sponsors understand and implement current recommendations.
Today, we have an incredible opportunity to move closer to our goal of eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities. What we in the research community must also do is think differently about how we approach inclusion to ensure that racial and ethnic minorities are adequately represented in research at all levels.
To learn more about Minority Health Month and the Affordable Care Act, visit http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov and http://www.healthcare.gov, and join in the conversation @MinorityHealth and @HealthCareGov.
Posted in: Health Community National Minority Health Month | Comments (1) | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
Posted on 4/9/2013 by Faye Williams and El Shaddai Gebreyes
The Office of Minority Health Knowledge Center supports National Minority Health Month by highlighting many information resources available to the public. The Knowledge Center focuses its collection on consumer health and many other health equity issues, and builds on this year’s theme of Advance Health Equity Now: Uniting Our Communities to Bring Health Care Coverage to All.
Created in 1987, the Knowledge Center indexed and tracked the concept of health disparities in the available literature long before it appeared in the forefront of public health concerns. Today, the library offers both a historical and present day picture of the health status of minority populations and holds a collection of 10,000 reports, books, journals and media, and over 35,000 articles, which makes it the largest repository of minority health information in the nation.
Equal access to health care has long been a factor in health equity, and the Knowledge Center library catalog reflects those concerns. By searching our catalog, you will find many reports, books and fact sheets which explain disparities in access to health insurance and health care.
And the Knowledge Center is more than a library. We also contribute to the outreach and educational activities of the Office of Minority Health and reach out to other libraries to support their consumer health education initiatives. For example, a recent presentation and exhibit at the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color highlighted our services and resources for public and academic libraries.
Other libraries have found ways to advance health equity, in keeping with objectives set by our National Partnership for Action (NPA). As an NPA partner, the University of Maryland Health Sciences and Human Services Library developed a health advocates program for local high school students (read more about the program.)
With 35 languages represented in our collection, the Knowledge Center is open to the public for research about a variety of diseases and health topics and you can search the database right from your desktop.
We invite you to take a look at our online catalog and conduct a search. Enter the search terms “Affordable Care Act” and discover what OMHRC has to offer you.
For questions or search assistance, please contact us at KnowledgeCenter@minorityhealth.hhs.gov.
During the week of April 14, the Office of Minority Health Knowledge Center joins libraries in schools, campuses and communities nationwide in celebrating National Library Week , a time to highlight the value of libraries, librarians and library workers.
Posted in: Health Health Disparities Community National Minority Health Month | Comments | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
Posted on 4/9/2012 by Chuuk Women's Council
On the small islands of Chuuk, rates of diabetes-related incidents are falling due to the efforts of a group of women who are working to tackle health issues on the island.
As a chronic disease, diabetes can be manageable, but when unattended, the complications can be fatal. Instead of just accepting diabetes as a normal part of life, the Chuuk Women's Council put a plan into action.
In 2002, through the Pap Ola Lokahi-funded Healthy Lifestyle program, the CWC raised awareness with health pamphlets translated into the Chuukese language, promoted healthy eating and home gardens, and provided opportunities for physical activity. They organized weekly zumba classes, quarterly sports tournaments for youth and sponsored walkathons.
According to their numbers, their efforts led to a drop in diabetes-related amputations by 56 percent from 2006 to 2009. Debridement, or the removal of dead or infected skin, decreased by 42 percent.
The CWC is a 27-year-old community-based organization on the Pacific island of Chuuk that serves as an umbrella organization for 64 women's organizations and about a thousand members. Not only does the seven-person staff tackle topics of diabetes—the second leading cause of death on the island— and its dangerous complications, but they have bolstered awareness on topics of sexually transmitted diseases and infections, abstinence, reproductive health, childhood immunizations and vitamin A deficiency.
Through trainings, outreach and one-on-one community encounters, this brigade of "mothers and aunties" is advancing overall health on the island.
Leading the way is Christine "Kiki" Stinnett.
"It's kind of an honor to lead all these efforts for Chuukese women, but it's also a big responsibility," Stinnett said, noting that the Chuukese people want to do something healthy for themselves, but they need help to organize, educate and share prevention strategies.
Stinnett was elected president of the organization in 2010, relinquishing her role as treasurer and taking over the mantle of responsibility after her mother's passing.
Since becoming president, Stinnett and the CWC have continued expanding their reputation among organizations, health providers and community members and have even built the Shinobu M. Poll Memorial Center, a women's wellness facility named in honor of Stinnett's mother.
The newly-built, 2,600-square-foot facility will not only help aid the work of the CWC, but can also be used by their members for board meetings, workshops and trainings. According to Stinnett, the building will also be used to offer wellness checkups, a room for traditional crafting and sewing lessons to provide females with a skill they can use as a source of income, a media room for recording trainings and rooms for HIV/AIDS testing, counseling and referral services.
But regardless of new technology, facilities or encouraging statistics, the CWC is not content to sit back on past achievements. Instead, they continue the practice of going out into the community to spread the word instead of expecting others to come to them. Currently, the two HIV educators regularly go into the community to speak with their neighbors throughout the island about HIV prevention, behavior and beliefs in a culturally competent manner.
They continue outreach efforts to area schools, using their peer-to-peer counseling methods around topics of tuberculosis, reproductive health and STDs, displayed most recently for International Women's Day in March.
"We have improved the knowledge and understanding of why it is we do what we're doing," Stinnett said. "We (the CWC) do training before they do anything. Then they go out and apply what they learned."
Stinnett is also encouraging other women to get involved with young people's education through the Parent, Teacher Association, providing support to help youth and schools prepare children for the future.
"We have a very important role as the mother and the manager of the household," Stinnett said, adding that she encourages CWC members "to get involved and be participants in things that go [on] in our community."
"I just believe our children need to be invested in because they are the future leaders of our country," Stinnett said. "They're the driving force of what we're doing. Being an auntie in the community, you always have a role to play."
Posted in: Community National Minority Health Month | Comments | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
Posted on 5/5/2011 by Mirtha Beadle, M.P.A.
Goal: Q&A with Mirtha about the NPA and National Stakeholder Strategy. The content will explain what the National Stakeholder Strategy is and how it will be implemented.
OMH: What was the impetus for the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA)?
For too long these leaders and advocates have been working in isolation to combat health disparities. The NPA is intended to refocus and advance existing efforts, and encourage innovations to deliver better results to the American people.
OMH: You recently unveiled the National Stakeholder Strategy (NSS). What is different about it?
The NSS addresses that so much of what affects health happens outside the doctor's office. The strategies and goals outlined in the NSS move us beyond controlling disease to tackling the unequal neighborhood and other conditions that are the root causes of health disparities. It calls on individuals and organizations within the health sector to work with others from housing, education, transportation and other sectors to address the social, economic and environmental factors that contribute to poor health - what we call the social determinants of health.
Finally, the NSS reflects the voices of the communities who are on the frontlines, grappling with these issues every day, and is rooted in their knowledge about what is needed and what works to help close health gaps in this country.
OMH: How can people on the frontlines use the National Stakeholder Strategy to address health disparities in their communities?
Our main objective is to figure out how to start connecting activities that are working-like reducing asthma among children, improving management of high-risk conditions or increasing access to health care for vulnerable populations-and elevate them so that we drive change in a broad way. This doesn't mean that community X or Y changes what they are doing. We just want to make sure that those efforts can have the greatest impact. The first step toward this goal is the creation of 10 regional health equity councils that will use the NSS to finalize a blueprint for their region that builds on effective programs and initiatives in states and communities throughout that region.
OMH: What is the Federal government doing?
The Federal Interagency Health Equity Team, which includes representatives of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency, will guide federal agencies and their partners to work together and take action to address the social, economic and environmental factors that contribute to health disparities.
OMH: What is next for the NPA?
Our immediate priority is working with the 10 regional health equity councils to help local stakeholders identify problems, set priorities, and work together to reduce health disparities and finalize several important partnerships.
OMH: How can others get involved?
Posted in: HHS Health Disparities Partnership Community Federal | Comments | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
About the Blog
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.
Recent Blog Posts