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New Blog: 2021 Key Milestones in Health Equity

health equity is when everyone has fair opportunity to attain high health levels

2021 has come to an end and many of us are hopeful for what 2022 holds. I encourage you to reflect on the progress you have made this year and celebrate all of your accomplishments. Personal celebrations are paramount, but together we’ve made monumental milestones in advancing health equity.

CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity released a new Conversations in Equity blog highlighting the health equity-related milestones that have had a transformative impact in achieving health equity. CDC is transforming its public health research, surveillance, and implementation efforts to shift from simply reporting on the markers of health inequities to addressing the drivers of disparities. CDC is building of key partnerships to gain collective expertise and perspectives, inform next steps, and create a shared commitment to achieving health equity.

Read the full Conversations in Equity blog.

Prevent Cervical Cancer

Cervical-Cancer-Awareness logo

In January, we recognize Cervical Cancer Awareness month. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide. It is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. All women are at risk for cervical cancer. However, data show it occurs most often in women over the age of 30. Black and Hispanic women experience higher rates of HPV-associated cervical cancer than non-Hispanic women and women of other races and ethnicities.

We can all play a role in preventing cervical cancer. Talk with your friends and family about getting the appropriated screening tests and consult with your medical provider about the HPV vaccine to help prevent cervical cancer.

Supporting Women with Disabilities Achieve Optimal Health

woman with prosthetic leg sitting on bed playing with child

The Office of Women’s Health released a new article on supporting women with disabilities to achieve optimal health. In the U.S., an estimated 37.5 million women report having a disability. Disability prevalence is higher among women, American Indian and Alaska Native people, adults with income below the federal poverty level, and persons in the South U.S. census region. Women with chronic physical disabilities, such as difficulty walking, are more likely to report fair or poor health than women without disabilities.

Having a disability does not mean a person can’t be healthy. Women with disabilities require health care and health programs for the same reasons anyone else does—to stay well, active, and a part of the community. The conditions in which we are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age, known as social determinants of health – have a profound impact on health. For example, women with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty, have lower educational levels, and lack health insurance compared to women without disabilities.

Learn more about these challenges women with disabilities face and how you can support them in achieve optimal health.

COVID-19 Supplemental Awards Kickoff Year 2 and Build on Lessons Learned

women in building entrance hall

CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) recently kicked off its second year supporting a COVID-19 capacity building program as a supplement to the Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support’s (CSTLTS) OT 18-1802 Cooperative Agreement. On November 16, 2021 recipients of OMHHE’s COVID-19 Supplemental and Priorities Award held a meeting to learn from and build on successes and lessons from year one, as well as share and connect regarding plans for year two.

Since July 2020, recipients have been providing capacity building assistance to partner organizations so they can best respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and future health issues by implementing evidence-based and community-informed interventions. In year one, tailored capacity building assistance delivered to 23 core partners and almost 200 affiliate partners led to the design and dissemination of over 250 communication products and events in 28 languages. The anticipated impact of this work in communities is a reduction in the barriers to COVID-19 mitigation practices and an increase in the facilitators to and use of such practices. The long-term goal is to reduce COVID-19 incidence and disparities in people who are at higher risk of becoming infected or exposed to COVID-19.

The continuing recipients include the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF)external icon, CDC Foundationexternal icon, and PROCEED, Inc.’s National Center for Training, Support and Technical Assistance (NCTSTA)external icon. Collectively, the recipients’ priority populations remain people of Asian American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic Black/African Americans, and Latino/Latinx ethnicities. Recipients are expanding their efforts this year beyond the 14 states reached in year one to assist additional community-based organizations and to reach additional states and the territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

APIAHF, CDC Foundation, and PROCEED, Inc. are currently convening new and returning partners to conduct rapid needs assessments that will identify current community needs and guide partner intervention strategies. Next steps will be to design culturally-responsive interventions and communication products that aim to increase COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Anticipated topics of focus include COVID-19 vaccines for children, vaccine hesitancy, mental health, and COVID-19 myths and misinformation.

Since the inception of the award in 2020, the award recipients have helped expand the evidence base for best practices in building community capacity to reach disproportionately impacted populations. Early results suggest several promising capacity-building strategies:

  • Tailoring capacity building assistance to partner needs due to diverse knowledge, backgrounds, and capacities
  • Using one-on-one sessions to listen and respond to the changing barriers to and facilitators of partner work
  • Providing clear guidance, templates, and tools that empower partners to replicate those processes in their own work
  • Being present at partner events to exemplify a network of support that can boost morale during challenging times; and
  • Facilitating partner collaborations to share challenges and lessons learned, as well as brainstorm solutions together.

These lessons learned will inform capacity building assistance activities in 2021-2022. Planned support include facilitating collaborations with organizations that work with similar communities or are developing similar products, using websites and social media to disseminate and promote partner products, hosting virtual training events such as town halls and webinars, and expanding a training program for community health workers.

Recipients also reported promising COVID-19 intervention strategies from year one which will inform their year two planning with their partners. These include:

  • tapping trusted community-based organizations and leaders to address government distrust;
  • using plain and in-language messaging to reduce confusion; and
  • combining “low tech, boots-on-the-ground” approaches such as training of local community members as community health workers with “high tech” social media campaigns.

Learn more about the progress of these three initiatives by following their project websites: APIAHF Forging Partnershipsexternal icon, PROCEED, Inc.’s PODER en SALUDexternal icon, and the CDC Foundation’s Southern Allianceexternal icon.

Page last reviewed: January 14, 2022