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April is minority health month

Health disparities affect vulnerable populations as defined by: race/ethnicity; socio-economic status; geography; gender; age; disability status; and risk status related to sex and gender. Minority populations have a higher incidence of chronic disease, higher mortality, and poorer health outcomes.

The U.S. faces serious health disparities:

• While African Americans account for 13% of the U.S. population, they are diagnosed with more than 50% of all new HIV infections.
• Asian Americans have the highest tuberculosis rate of any population in the US.
• American Indians experience higher rates of STDs and injuries.
• Latinos are also less likely to get a flu vaccine and more at risk for HIV/AIDS and diabetes.

The CDC supports 40 grantee partners through REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) . The goal of REACH is to establish community based programs and culturally-appropriate interventions to eliminate health disparities for African Americans, American Indians, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian Americans, Alaska Native and Pacific Islanders. Currently there are REACH projects in New England including: the Boston Public Health Commission, Breast and Cervical Cancer Coalition and Boston Elders project; the Center for Community Health, Education and Research Metropolitan Boston Haitian HIV Coalition; the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center Latino Health project; and the Lowell Community Health Center Cambodian Health Program. REACH highlights success stories in their booklets: The Power to Reduce Health Disparities: Voices from REACH Communities and REACHing across the Divide: Finding Solutions to Health Disparities.

The National Library of Medicine offers many outstanding resources for minority health:

American Indian Health http://americanindianhealth.nlm.nih.gov/
Asian American Health http://asianamericanhealth.nlm.nih.gov/
Arctic Health http://www.arctichealth.org/

The NN/LM New England Region funds SPIRAL (Selected Patient Information Resources in Asian Languages), a website which is very useful for locating multilingual health information. http://spiral.tufts.edu/ Also, the NN/LM highlights tri-folds you may freely reproduce for minority health under our consumer focused resources section on our training page. http://nnlm.gov/ner/training/resources.html

How can you help? The CDC offers great tips:

• join with others to promote community-wide health activities and campaigns;
• form coalitions with civic, professional, religious, and educational organizations, to advocate health policies, programs and services; and
• support policies that promote health-care access for all.

I hope you will take this opportunity to stay up to date on programs and resources to support minority health.

Sources:
Office of Minority and Health Disparities, http://www.cdc.gov/omhd
Health Disparities. Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_disparities
CDC. Health Disparities Affecting Minorities, African Americans. http://www.cdc.gov/minorityhealth/brochures/BAA.pdf
CDC. Health Disparities Affecting Minorities, Asian American. http://www.cdc.gov/omhd/Brochures/PDFs/BAA.pdf
CDC. Health Disparities Affecting Minorities, American Indians and Alaska Natives. http://www.cdc.gov/omhd/Brochures/PDFs/AIAN.pdf
CDC. Health Disparities Affecting Minorities, Hispanic/ Latino Americans http://www.cdc.gov/omhd/Brochures/PDFs/HL.pdf
REACH, Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health, http://cdc.gov/reach
REACH, The Power to Reduce Health Disparities: Voices from REACH Communities and REACHing across the Divide: Finding Solutions to Health Disparities http://www.cdc.gov/reach/reach_2010/story_books.htm

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