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CDC Celebrates National Minority Health Month!

People holding signs - April is Minority Health MonthApril is National Minority Health Month. The theme for 2016 is "Accelerating Health Equity for the Nation." Learn what CDC is doing and help raise awareness of the health disparities that affect minorities.

"Without health and long life, all else fails."
- Dr. Booker T. Washington

Recognizing that health is the key to progress and equity in all other things, Dr. Booker T. Washington proposed the observance of "National Negro Health Week" in April 1915. He called on local health departments, schools, churches, businesses, professional associations, and the most influential organizations in the African-American community to "pull together" and "unite… in one great National Health Movement." That observance grew into what is today a month-long initiative to advance health equity across the country on behalf of all racial and ethnic minorities – National Minority Health Month.

CDC Activities that Accelerate Health Equity for the Nation

Increasing Access to Breastfeeding Support among Underserved Communities

For babies, good nutrition and optimal health starts with breastfeeding exclusively for about the first 6 months of life. To do this, moms need support from their health care providers, families, employers, and communities to continue breastfeeding. The National Immunization Survey shows that breastfeeding rates for African American women are lower than the national average.

To increase breastfeeding rates among low-income and minority populations, CDC partners with various organizations to increase the number of U.S. hospitals designated as Baby-Friendly.

How is CDC making a difference?

  • Baby-Friendly Hospitals
    This initiative is designed to help hospitals implement evidence-based maternity care. Maternity care practices support the health and wellbeing of mothers as they transition from pre-natal care during pregnancy to post-partum care after birth, within hospital settings. To increase breastfeeding rates among low-income and minority populations, CDC partners with various organizations to increase the number of U.S. hospitals designated as Baby-Friendly. From 2011-2015, CDC contributed to the successful designation of 74 hospitals through the Best Fed Beginnings (BFB) initiative, thus greatly improving the hospital support and care provided to mothers and newborn infants. In 2014, CDC continued Baby-Friendly designation efforts through a hospital-based quality improvement initiative, known as EMPower.
  • In the Community
    While the number of babies who start breastfeeding has increased, it is still difficult for mothers to continue to breastfeed, including a lack of a private space and enough time to pump at work, and a lack of low cost lactation care providers and support groups. In partnership with the National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO), CDC has awarded funding to 69 local health and community-based organizations to provide peer and professional lactation support to African American and underserved women and infants.

The Hispanic Health Vital Signs encourages the use of community health workers, also called promotores de salud, to provide resources to educate the Hispanic community about health risks and preventive services.

DeKalb Mobile Farmers’ Market

Hispanic Health Vital Signs

This first national study on Hispanic health risks and leading causes of death in the United States by CDC shows that Hispanics had higher death rates than Non-Hispanic whites from diabetes and chronic liver disease and cirrhosis (scarring of the liver). The report encourages the use of community health workers, also called promotores de salud, to provide resources to educate the Hispanic community about health risks and preventive services.

The 2016 Public Health Ethics Forum will take place on April 22, 2016. The theme of this year's forum is Making Latino/Hispanic Health Count: Advancing a Public Health Ethics Framework on Data Collection for Social Justice. Register to attend in person or participate virtually.  Space is limited.

The Division of Community Health Awardees Address Obesity and Tobacco Use in Multi-unit Housing

From Prison Bus to Mobile Market: Driving Out Obesity in DeKalb County, Georgia
To address high rates of obesity and increase access to healthy food and beverage options, partnerships with the DeKalb County Board of Health, DeKalb County Government and DeKalb County Extension used CDC funding to remodel a former prison bus into a mobile farmers' market. The DeKalb Mobile Farmers' Market makes weekly stops at recreation centers, apartment complexes, churches, and other community hubs in low-income areas across the county. Customers can purchase fresh, affordable produce using Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, checks, credit cards, and cash. They also receive food preparation tips, healthy recipes, and samples. As of March 2016, this initiative has increased access to healthy food options for 52,000 residents.

Filling Up on Fresh Foods at the Pump to Fight Food Insecurity in Montgomery County, AL
Over the last three decades, obesity has doubled in Alabama's children [1.94 MB] and quadrupled in adults—making the state third in the country in child obesity and highest in adult diabetes. The Wellness Coalition of Montgomery County partnered with Central Alabama Regional Planning and Development to encourage convenience and gas store owners in Montgomery, Macon, and Lowndes counties to supply fresh produce from local farms, display signs to alert shoppers, and distribute recipe cards. Educate, Act, Transform (E.A.T.) South, a local farm and school garden program, joined in to give customers cooking demonstrations, food tastings, and lessons on choosing healthy foods.

Safety Rules as Miami-Dade Public Housing Goes Smoke-free
In Miami-Dade County, 11.4% of adults [8.19 MB] smoked cigarettes at home at least four times a week in the past month and 6.8% of adults [8.19 MB] exposed to secondhand smoke are non-smokers. Residents living in multi-unit complexes are vulnerable to both smoking-related fires and secondhand smoke at home and from smoke that travels between units across vents, doorways and cracks in the walls. To address resident needs and housing manager concerns, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) educated residents and worked with public housing managers to implement smoke-free protections.

In just one year (2015), the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade (FDOH) encouraged 269 residents of 529 public housing multi-units to go tobacco-free, and helped nine public housing complexes start educational awareness campaigns in partnership with public housing complexes across the County. At least two property managers have incorporated smoke/tobacco-free protection strategies as part of their lease agreements.

CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholars (CUPS) Program

CDC supports internship opportunities for qualified undergraduate and graduate students to gain meaningful experiences in public health settings. The CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholars (CUPS) program, consists of five internship opportunities that expose undergraduate students interested in minority health to the field of public health research and practice by providing hands-on, project-oriented assignments. This exposure to public health programs will heighten interns' awareness of and interest in public health careers. The Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program is a professional development program that provides hands-on experience for graduate students in medical, dental, veterinary, pharmacy, and public health master's-level graduate programs.

  • Page last reviewed: April 1, 2016
  • Page last updated: April 1, 2016
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