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“Without health and long life, all else fails.” Dr. Booker T. Washington wrote these words in a letter to leading African American newspapers in April 1915, proposing the observance of “National Negro Health Week.” This proposition became the foundation for National Minority Health Month, observed every April in the United States.
National Minority Health Month (NMHM) is observed annually in April. The HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) is the Federal planning lead and collaborates with partners across the country. The theme for 2017, Bridging Health Equity Across Communities, emphasizes the collaborative, community-level work being done across the nation to help achieve health equity.
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.
Many people are familiar with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s 1968 assessment that "of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman."
Equally important and less cited is the solution King offered in the sentence that followed: "I see no alternative to direct action and creative nonviolence to raise the conscience of the nation."
Fifteen. That is the number of major family holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter – that have passed since my father died from colon cancer in June 2013.
Although he was an intelligent, engaging physician, a common enemy, fear, made him wait until it was too late to get a screening exam. He lost his fight against this disease, despite a significant support system and compassionate, expert care from many of the finest health care institutions in the country. The ripple effect caused by the loss of his energy, enthusiasm, and productivity continues to be felt in my family and in his community.
I never had health problems when I was growing up. I played sports in high school and competitive intramural volleyball in college. I was active and fit. But then one night in October 2010, I began to experience trouble breathing. My then-husband took me to the emergency room where the doctor said my lungs were inflamed and sent me home. The next day, I went to another ER where the doctor determined that my heart was enlarged and sent me to a cardiologist who confirmed the condition.
Most people are aware of the Oscar nominated film Hidden Figures – the story chronicling the team of African American women mathematicians who played a crucial role at NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program. Their story is one of determination and achievement despite hurdles intended to block their progress. Their triumph is a symbol of African American progress in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), a story that resonates more than 50 years later during Black History Month.
Summary: Springboard Beyond Cancer helps empower cancer survivors to play a key role in managing their own health.
Public health stakeholders from the federal to the local level are looking for ways to combat the opioid crisis. Two available resources are the Public Health 3.0 (PH3.0) framework and the ongoing work of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA), an initiative of the Office of Minority Health within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Taken together, these resources offer a solution that is as unique as the crisis itself.
It’s been 35 years since the first recognition of what would become the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. In the decades since, much progress has been made, but as a global community, we have not yet achieved our collective goal of a world free of HIV.
Native American Heritage Month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories, and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native Americans. It provides an opportunity to educate all Americans about American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Tribes, to raise awareness about the unique challenges Native communities have faced historically and continue to face today, and the ways in which Tribal leaders and members have worked to conquer these challenges.
Fresh winds of transformation are rolling across the expanse of this nation. In American Indian traditional stories, wind is a power larger than life itself throughout the history of the First Americans. During this Native American Heritage Month, we look to the winds of change that are transforming adversity into hope and empowering American Indians and Alaska Natives to live longer, healthier lives.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We invite all communities to learn more about National Minority Health Month, and resources to help promote this observance and events in your community
National Minority Health Month video message from J. Nadine Gracia, Former 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.
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.
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.