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Last Modified: Feb. 4, 2010
Last Reviewed: Feb. 4, 2010
Content Source:
Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities (OMHD)


Highlights in Minority Health
& Health Disparities
February, 2010
African American History Month
 

FEBRUARY 2010 IS AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH

   
blue triangle Introduction blue triangle Programs & Accomplishments
blue triangle Examples of Important Health Disparities    Table 1 blue triangle For More Information
blue triangle Promising Intervention Strategies blue triangle Notes     Sources
   

This month, we recognize the courage and tenacity of so many hard-working Americans whose legacies are woven into the fabric of our Nation. We are heirs to their extraordinary progress. Racial prejudice is no longer the steepest barrier to opportunity for most African Americans, yet substantial obstacles remain in the remnants of past discrimination. Structural inequalities -- from disparities in education and health care to the vicious cycle of poverty -- still pose enormous hurdles for black communities across America..1  

The Census Bureau estimates that 41.1 million people are Black or African American alone or in combination with one or more other races as of July 1, 2008, making up 13.5% of the total U.S. population.  The Census Bureau projects that by the year 2050 there will be more than 65.7 million African American individuals in the United States, comprising 15% of the population. 2

Despite great improvements in the overall health of the nation, health disparities remain widespread among members of racial and ethnic minority populations.4

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EXAMPLES OF IMPORTANT HEALTH DISPARITIES
  Racial and Ethnic
  red arrow

In 2006, African Americans had the highest age-adjusted all-causes death rate of all races/ethnicities.  In addition, African Americans had the highest age-adjusted death rate for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS.5

Table 1:
2006 Age-Adjusted Death Rates
for Selected Causes of Death, per 100,000 Population

  All Populations African Americans Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders
All Causes 776.5 982.0 428.6
Heart Disease 200.2 257.7 108.5
Cancer 180.7 217.4 106.5
Diabetes 23.3 45.1 15.8
Unintentional Injury 39.8 38.3 16.9
HIV Disease 4.0 18.6 0.6

Source: Health, United States, 2008 Table 28, updated Nov 2009.

  red arrow In 2007, non-Hispanic black persons 18 years of age and over were less likely than non-Hispanic white persons to have received a flu shot during the past 12 months (Non-Hispanic black: 38.1%; Non-Hispanic white: 49.9%)6, and were also less likely to have ever received a pneumococcal vaccination (Non-Hispanic black: 43.7%; Non-Hispanic white: 60.1%).7
  red arrow According to the U.S. Census, blacks make up approximately 13.5% of the U.S. population.2  However, in 2007, blacks accounted for 21,754 (51%) of the estimated 42,655 new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the United States in the 34 states with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting.8
  red arrow In 2008, African American Adults were almost 4 times as likely to be obese*  as Asian Adults, (African American: 36.1%, White: 26.5%, Asian American: 9.4%). 9  African American women were particularly impacted, with 42.1% of African American women 18 years of age and over obese in 2008.9
  red arrow Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is three times more common in Black women than in white women.  Black and Hispanic/Latina women tend to develop symptoms at an earlier age than other women.  African Americans have more severe organ problems, especially with their kidneys.10

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PROMISING INTERVENTION STRATEGIES
Eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health will require enhanced efforts at preventing disease, promoting health and delivering appropriate care. This will necessitate improved collection and use of standardized data to correctly identify all high risk populations and monitor the effectiveness of health interventions targeting these groups.11
Eliminating health disparities will also require new knowledge about the determinants of disease, causes of health disparities, and effective interventions for prevention and treatment. It will also require improving access to the benefits of society, including quality preventive and treatment services, as well as innovative ways of working in partnership with health care systems, State and local governments, tribal governments, academia, national and community-based organizations, and communities.11
Culturally appropriate, community-driven programs are critical for eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health. For these programs to be effective, prevention research is needed to identify the causes of health disparities and the best means of delivering preventive and clinical services. Establishing these programs will also require new and innovative partnerships among federal, state, local, and tribal governments and communities.12

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PROGRAMS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
CDCís Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (OMHD)
  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, (HHS) created the Office of Minority Health in 1985 as a result of the Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Black and Minority Health  which revealed large and persistent gaps in health status among Americans of different racial and ethnic groups.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created its own Office of the Associate Director for Minority Health (ADMH) in 1988 in response to the same report.  Congress passed the ďDisadvantaged Minority Health Act of 1990Ē in order to improve the health status of underserved populations,  including racial and ethnic minorities.13    ADMH officially became CDCís Office of Minority Health (OMH) in 2002.  In 2005, the office was expanded and renamed as CDC's Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (OMHD). In 2008, OMHD moved into the Office of Chief of Public Health Practice (OCPHP), Office of the Director, to be best positioned to accelerate health impact for vulnerable populations in the U.S.
   
CDC/ATSDR Minority Initiatives Coordinating Committee (CAMICC)
  CAMICC coordinates all the Health and Human Services (HHS) departmental minority health initiatives within CDC/ATSDR, including activities which target all racial and ethnic groups. CAMICC meets monthly to discuss progress in implementing the plans. The committee is comprised of representatives from CDC's Coordinating Centers, National Centers, Institute, and Offices (CIOs) and ATSDR.14
  CAMICC was charged by the CDC Director in 2000 to coordinate CDC/ATSDR's agency-wide activities relative to minority health, provide guidance and policy direction for minority health initiatives, serve as an advisor to the Director of CDC/ATSDR on matters relative to minority health and provide leadership in developing and implementing plans to improve minority health nationally.14
   
Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Across the United States (REACH U.S.)
  REACH U.S. serves as the cornerstones of CDCís efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health. Launched in 1999 as REACH 2010, REACH U.S. is designed to eliminate disparities in at least one of the following health priority areas: breast and cervical cancer; cardiovascular disease; diabetes mellitus; adult / older adult immunization, hepatitis B, and/or Tuberculosis; asthma; and infant mortality.4
   
Healthy People 2010
  The Healthy People Initiative has been the Nation's prevention and health promotion agenda for the last two decades. Healthy People 2010 is designed to achieve two overarching goals:

     1) Increase quality and years of healthy life;
     2) Eliminate health disparities.

By the midcourse review, the Black, Non-Hispanic population had the best rate for 21 percent of these objectives and sub-objectives, including counseling about health risks (Focus Areas 1 and 2) and quality of their health providersí communication skills (Focus Area 11).
15  This population had rates at least 100 percent worse than the best group for 20 percent of these objectives and sub-objectives, including most causes of death in many focus areas.

The CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR) has lead or co-lead responsibility for 18 of the 28 (64 percent) Healthy People 2010 focus areas, including all six areas identified in the HHS initiative to eliminate health disparities:

  blue sphere Infant Mortality
  blue sphere Deficits in Breast & Cervical Cancer Screening & Management
  blue sphere Cardiovascular Diseases
  blue sphere Diabetes
  blue sphere HIV Infections/AIDS
  blue sphere Child and Adult Immunizations.12 

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FOR MORE INFORMATION
White House Presidential Proclamation:
National African American History Month, 2010
  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (OMHD)
      Black or African American Populations
    National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
      Health of Black or African American Population
    CDC Highlight Blacks & HIV/AIDS
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  Healthfinder: African American Health
  Office of Minority Health (OMH)
    African American Profile
  National Womenís Health Information Center (NWHIC)
    African American Women
  Surgeon Generalís Report: Mental Health: Culture, Race, Ethnicity
    Fact Sheet: African Americans
  National Institutes of Health (NIH)
    National Library of Medicine
      Medline Plus: African American Health
U.S. Census Bureau
  US Census 2000 Brief: The Black Population
  Facts for Features: Black (African-American) History Month
February 2010

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NOTES

*

Obesity is indicated by a BMI greater than or equal to 30.0..8 p80

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SOURCES

1. The White House, National African American History Month, 2010
2. U.S. Census Bureau, Facts for Features: Black (African-American) History Month: February 2010
4. REACH U.S. Racial & Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Across the U.S.
5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Health United States, 2008 Table 28, updated Nov. 2009.
6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Health United States, 2008 Table 87, updated Nov. 2009.
7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Health United States, 2008 Table 88, updated Nov. 2009.
8. CDC, Fact Sheet: HIV/AIDS Among African Americans updated 8/25/09.
9. CDC, Vital & Health Statistics, Series 10, No.242, December, 2009, Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults, National Health Interview Survey, 2008 Table 31.
10. OMHD Lupus Factsheet,
HHS, National Woman's Health Information Center (NNWHIC) Minority Women's Health, Lupus, November, 2006
11. CDC, OMHD, Eliminating Racial & Ethnic Health Disparities
12. CDC, OMHD, Disease Burden & Risk Factors
13. CDC, OMHD, About Minority Health
14. CDC, OMHD, CDC/ATSDR Minority Initiatives Coordinating Committee (CAMICC)
15. Healthy People 2010 Mid-Course Review
16. CDC, Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH 2010): Finding Solutions to Health Disparities: At a Glance, 2007

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