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April is National Minority Health Month

In 1915, Dr. Booker T. Washington once said: “Without health and long life, all else fails.”

Washington called on local health departments, schools, churches, businesses, professional associations, and groups in the African-American community to unite in a national health movement – and April became the month to create that awareness.

Following Washington’s lead, the Center for Diseases Control (CDC) is celebrating this month with the theme “Bridging Health Equity Across Communities.”

The CDC is a great resource to learn more about how to advance health equity and women’s health issues in the nation. Health equity means making sure that everyone has the opportunity to be healthy as possible.

However, health disparities, or great differences , happen. Did you know that African American children are more likely to die from asthma compared to non-Hispanic white children?

Why is health equity important? Not only is it one of the major keys to happiness, but the World Health Organization also says it contributes to economic progress.

In 1984, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Margaret Heckler, created a task force that documented health disparities affecting Americans of color and recommending action steps for the nation to address these disparities.

That marked the first time the government painted a national picture of the health of racial and ethnic minorities. The Heckler Report was one of the first steps in making progress toward health equity.

Similarly, the first national study on Hispanics’ health showed that Hispanics had “higher death rates than non-Hispanic whites from diabetes and chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.” The report provides resources about health risks and preventive services.

For more information on public health and ethics, visit the CDC website Public Health Ethics Forum webpage.