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Health Equity Matters

A quarterly e-newsletter in which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) shares news, perspectives and progress in the science and practice of health equity.

Leandris C. Liburd, PhD, MPH, MA

Leandris C. Liburd, PhD, MPH, MA
Associate Director for Minority Health and Health Equity, CDC/ATSDR

Welcome to Health Equity Matters, an electronic newsletter intended to promote awareness of minority health and health equity work at CDC and in the broader public health community, support the achievement of our goal to eliminate health disparities, and foster ongoing communication and collaboration with our partners and the public.

It’s hard to believe we are more than halfway through 2015! I looked back over the last issue of Health Equity Matters, and we were anticipating several events and the release of new reports in the months ahead. I am pleased that we are able to share the outcomes of these events and reports in this issue. You will read about year 4 of the CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Program (CUPS) and year 26 of the James A. Ferguson Graduate Fellowship. This year, over 3800 students applied to these programs, and just under 200 were accepted. In the last 4 years, over 12,000 students have applied to these programs, and just over 750 students have been selected! The CUPS students and Ferguson Fellows represent a diverse group of high achieving and passionate scholars interested in reducing health disparities through the science and practice of public health. Their community practicums, assignments in hospitals and departments of health, and analytic projects and laboratory research at CDC addressed important public health issues this summer, and advanced knowledge, policy, and practice. As always, we were energized and inspired by their contributions, and look forward to the day they join us in the pursuit of health equity. .

We also experienced an historic health summit commemorating 100 years since the establishment of National Negro Health Week, which evolved to become National Minority Health Month. This historic summit brought together leading scholars in minority health and health disparities, federal officials, representatives of national organizations, community leaders, and students, to name a few. Visit our website for the line-up of speakers, presentations, and other supporting materials. A special issue of Tuskegee University’s journal – the Journal of Healthcare, Science and the Humanities - will capture the contents of the conference in scholarly, peer-reviewed articles scheduled to be released later this year.

One of my favorite writers is James Baldwin. He is one of the greatest thinkers and human rights activists of the 20th century. Mr. Baldwin said in his book, Nobody Knows My Name (1966), “The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.” Our Health Equity Champion, Dr. Shiriki Kumanyika, will not leave public health research or practice as it was when she first entered the field. Her leadership and influence in public health is not easily matched, and we salute her for carrying the banner of health equity in the academy, in federal health agencies, and as part of her national platform as President of the American Public Health Association.

This issue of Health Equity Matters is filled with important information about CDC minority health initiatives, including a new report on cancer disparities, and the development of a policy for the respectful treatment of American Indian/Alaska Native specimens. We also highlight the first Hispanic Health Vital Signs Report released in May, and we give a brief update on OMHHE’s involvement with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. These stories and more fill this issue. We hope you enjoy it, and we welcome your comments. CDC's Office of Minority Health & Health Equity (OMHHE)

Leandris C. Liburd, PhD, MPH, MA
Associate Director for Minority Health and Health Equity, CDC/ATSDR
Office of Minority Health & Health Equity (OMHHE)


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