Heels, did you know April is National Minority Health Month? So what does that mean?
National Minority Health Month began in April 2001 in response to a national health promotion and disease prevention initiative called Healthy People 2010 . Since its inauguration over a decade ago, National Minority Health Month has been commemorated every year nationally. The purpose of National Minority Health Month is twofold.
1) National Minority Health month raises awareness about health disparities, or gaps in the quality of health and health care experienced by racial and ethnic minorities. Some of these racial and ethnic minorities include people who identify as Black or African American, Latina/Latino, East Asian (e.g., Chinese, Japanese), South Asian (e.g., Indian, Pakistani), Middle Eastern (e.g., Israeli, Iranian) and/or Native American. For example, did you know there is an average 5 year gap in life expectancy between African Americans and Whites in this country (Arias, 2010)?
2) National Minority Health promotes action to achieve health equity – when every person has the opportunity to attain their full health potential.
To give you a sense of some of the health disparities facing our nation, take a look at the 3 minute clip below of Dr. David R. Williams, Professor of Public Health at Harvard University School of Public Health, and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.
Want to learn more? Below are some additional resources to raise your awareness about minority health and health disparities.
Minority Health Resources
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Minority Health Month webpage
- National Minority Quality Forum
- National Minority Health Resource Center
- Office of Minority Health Campaigns and Initiatives
Health Disparities Resources
- Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in North Carolina Report Card 2010
- National Conference of State Legislatures Health Disparities Overview
- Healthy People Disparities webpage
- National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities
- American Psychological Association Health Disparities webpage
Also, if you have 18 minutes to spare, check out this engaging video from Discovery called Health: When Sex, Race and Location Matter (part 1)
As you can tell from the aforementioned video and resources, we live in a nation with some disheartening health disparities. However, all hope is not lost. Our goal is to one day live in a world where every person has the opportunity to attain their full health potential. This year the Office of Minority Health has created a 5 minute clip (below) to promote this year’s Minority Health Month theme “Prevention is Power: Taking Action for Health Equity”.
There are many ways you can get involved with health equity work and make a difference both this April as well as throughout the year:
- Take the Pledge: Take the Pledge to Support the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities and get regular updates on its progress.
- Get Connected: Get connected with some of the outstanding campaigns and initiatives right here on our very own campus.
- The UNC Minority Health Project
- This website is a great guide for minority health-related activities here at UNC-Chapel Hill and elsewhere.
- Annual Minority Health Conference at UNC-Chapel Hill
- This conference is an annual student-run conference that occurs in February each year. Check out the website to learn more about past and future conferences.
- UNC Program on Ethnicity, Culture and Health Outcomes
- This website is a great guide to research, training, coursework and events related to disparities here at UNC-Chapel Hill.
- National Health Equity Research Webcast
- This webcast is an interactive live-streamed symposium cosponsored by Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at UNC-Chapel Hill and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.
- This year the 20th annual webcast will be held on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 and the topic will be “School-to-Prison Pipeline”. Participants can attend the live event, in person, or view through the live webcast.
- Leading for Racial Equity: Examining Structural Issues of Race and Class
- This new graduate course is a professional interdisciplinary seminar that partners with the Racial Equity Institute, a national anti-racism training organization.
- The course will be offered for the fall 2014 semester and consists of full day sessions on August 29 & 30 and September 13 & 27.
- Course space is limited to 24 graduate students (Permission Required by Lead Instructor). To enroll send your name, UNC department affiliation, PID, and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org
- The UNC Minority Health Project
- Continue the dialogue: Continue the dialogue by learning more about health equity and sharing the information with your network of classmates, coworkers, friends and family! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Here at UNC Student Wellness we are committed to promoting inclusion health equity. This webpage contains information to help you become more familiar with helpful definitions as well current opportunities to get involved.
- Additionally, here at UNC Student Wellness we also have a peer health organization called Diversity and Inclusiveness in Collegiate Environments (DICE) whose mission is to create greater diversity awareness and programming inclusiveness for Carolina students. This webpage contains information about DICE as well as ways to get connected with their list serve, website or social media.
- The Racial Equity Institute facilitates 2-day anti-racism/racial equity trainings to help participants explore issues of race in the United States. This training is an opportunity to challenge yourself and others, break down misconceptions, and continue the dialogue
What other ways can you get involved with health equity? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Arias E. United States life tables, 2006.National vital statistics reports; vol 58 no 21. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.2010.