National Minority Health Month is celebrated in the United States every year during the month of April.
The purpose of this celebration is to raise awareness of the health disparities that exist among racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States.
It also seeks to promote health equity and access to quality health care for all.
Historically, minority populations in the United States have faced significant barriers to accessing health care.
These include discrimination, poverty, and limited access to health care facilities and services.
These disparities have resulted in higher rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
As well as shorter life expectancy and poorer overall health outcomes.
National Minority Health Month: a recognition to promote equity
National Minority Health Month was first observed in April 2002.
Since then, the celebration has grown to include a variety of activities and events to promote health equity.
Likewise, to raise awareness of the unique health needs of minority populations.
- Encouraging health care providers and public health officials to address the specific health needs of minority populations.
- Promoting culturally competent health care services that take into account the unique beliefs, values, and practices of different ethnic and racial groups.
- Increasing access to health care services in underserved communities, such as rural and inner-city areas where minority populations are concentrated.
- Promote health equity by addressing determinants that contribute to disparities such as poverty, unemployment, inadequate housing, and limited access to education and healthy food choices.
According to HHS, the statistics evidence the causes of the disparity in health and health care for minorities:
- It is estimated that only 14% of the U.S. population has competent health literacy.
- In the United States, nearly 20% of people speak a language other than English at home.
- According to 2020 Census data, there are 62.1 million Hispanics living in the United States. This group represents 18.9 percent of the total U.S. population, the second largest racial or ethnic group in the country after non-Hispanic whites.
- It is estimated that more than 60 percent of racial and ethnic minority patients over the age of 18 believe it is important to visit a health care provider who shares or empathizes with their culture.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that ethnic minorities in the United States, including Hispanics, face a higher risk of hospitalization from illnesses such as influenza.
The Office of Minority Health (OMH) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is launching this year’s national awareness campaign:
Its central theme is: Better Health Through Better Understanding.
It seeks to improve health outcomes for minority communities by providing them with culturally and linguistically qualified health care services, information and resources.
The campaign is focused on:
- Improving patient health literacy.
- Culturally competent care for diverse populations.
- Improve access to health care information for patients with limited English proficiency.
When patients receive culturally and linguistically appropriate information, they can create healthier outcomes for themselves and their communities.
Throughout the month of April, a wide range of activities and events are held to promote National Minority Health Month.
These include health fairs, community outreach events, educational seminars and public awareness campaigns.
Learn more about providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services and health literacy and how it affects your health at www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov.