XV. Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities
- Eliminating Health Disparities in Chronic Disease
- Eliminating Health Disparities in Adult Immunizations
The President has committed the Nation to the goal of eliminating by the year 2010, disparities in six areas of health status experienced by racial and ethnic populations while continuing the progress we have made in improving the overall health of the American people. The health status areas targeted in this initiative are infant mortality, cancer screening and management, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV infection/AIDS, and child and adult immunizations.
Compelling evidence that race and ethnicity correlate with persistent, and often increasing, health disparities among U.S. populations demand national attention. Indeed, despite significant progress in the overall health of the Nation, as documented in Health, United States-the annual report card on the health status of the American people-there are continuing disparities in burden of illness and death experienced by African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians and Alaska Natives, and Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, compared to the U.S. population as a whole. The demographic changes that are anticipated over the next decade magnify the importance of addressing disparities in health status. Racial and ethnic groups will increase in upcoming decades as a proportion of the total U.S. population; therefore, the future health of America as a whole will be influenced substantially by our success in improving the health of these populations. A national focus on disparities in health status is particularly important as major changes unfold in the way in which health care is delivered and financed.
Eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health will require new knowledge about causes of health disparities, enhanced efforts at preventing disease, innovative methods of promoting health and delivering culturally competent and linguistically specific preventive and clinical services.
Accomplishing this goal will require obtaining new information, particularly the data to identify populations at high risk, and to monitor the effectiveness of health interventions targeting these groups. Research dedicated to a better understanding of the relationships between health status and different racial and ethnic minority backgrounds will help us acquire new insights into eliminating the disparities and developing new ways to apply our existing knowledge toward this goal. Improving access to quality health care and the delivery of preventive and treatment services will require working more closely with providers to deliver preventive and clinical services, and with communities to obtain community "consent" for community participation, identify needs, plan and conduct research.
As part of President's Initiative on Eliminating Ethnic Health Disparities, CDC leads interagency working groups charged with significantly reducing health disparities in health access and outcomes in the following areas: Cancer Screening and Management; Cardiovascular Disease; Diabetes; HIV Infection/AIDS; Infant Mortality; and Child and Adult Immunizations. The FY 1999 budget also includes $10 million for CDC to support 30 communities to conduct community planning activities. The planning activities include establishing infrastructure for community-level data collection, establishing collaborative partnerships, establishing linkages with other state and local agencies, and working with federal agencies and other partners to identify "best practices" and program activities which will underpin intervention activities. award community planning cooperative agreements to community-based demonstration projects testing science-based approaches to achieve the six health disparity reduction goals. Results from these demonstrations will be important in shaping strategies to eliminate disparities, and for improving the focus and effectiveness of the Department's current programs.