National Minority Health Month

National-Minority-Health-MonthBy Beatriz Garcia, UWO Health Advocate

National Minority Health Month takes place in April. It draws attention to the health disparities that occur among ethnic or racial minority groups in the US. Many of these individuals do not have access to affordable healthcare in their communities.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Healthcare disparities refer to differences in access to or availability of facilities and services.”

Many health disparities can be attributed to:

  • Socioeconomic status
  • Education level
  • Environment
  • Occupation
  • Ability status
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Ethnicity

These nearly unchangeable factors are responsible for the inability of some to receive appropriate curative and preventative care. This puts groups of people at a greater risk for illness and a decreased life expectancy.

National and community organizations are working together to diminish health disparities among minority groups. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services Minority Health Program awarded grants to community organizations trying to reduce the disparities faced by our minority population. Some of those organizations are:

  • Healthnet of Rock County, Inc.
    • Is working to improve mental health and treatment among the hispanic community.
  • Today not Tomorrow
    • Is promoting the positive impact that healthy nutrition and physical activity have on birth outcomes.
  • Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency
    • Is working to improve communication between Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino parents and their teenagers regarding risky behaviors.

Health disparities are caused by issues that are deeply ingrained in our society. Regardless, as individuals there are things we can do to reduce health disparities:

  • Participate/volunteer at community events
  • Educate others on this topic
  • Encourage any programs you are a member of to become involved