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Health Equity Matters Newsletter

Fall 2017 Newsletter

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, improve women’s health, support diversity and inclusion in the public health workforce, and foster ongoing communication and collaboration with our partners and the public.

One of my favorite things to do is read. This summer, I read Hillbilly Elegy – the memoir of a young man who was born in rural Kentucky in what he calls “the holler,” and grew up in a blue collar community in Ohio. The story shares intimate details of his life and that of his extended family. He also applies different theoretical frameworks to explain how aspects of his upbringing helped propel him toward success while many of his similarly situated peers failed to rise above their circumstances. Hillbilly Elegy has been both praised and criticized. Importantly, the book has invoked a lot of debates about how representative it is of working class communities in rural areas and small towns. Whether you agree with the author’s analysis or not, this book and other recent publications have sparked conversations about the needs of contemporary working class rural communities among policymakers and others interested in improving opportunities and health outcomes among people living in rural areas.

In this issue of Health Equity Matters, we feature rural health. CDC has published a series of MMWRs focused on rural health, including a report on racial and ethnic health disparities among rural adults. We also highlight the work of the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services Center that serves multiple counties in the Mississippi Delta. For nearly 40 years, this center has been committed to reducing health and healthcare disparities among rural Mississippi residents through a comprehensive set of services. Congratulations to the staff and partners of the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services Center! They represent but one example of the heroic work going on around the country to improve health outcomes in rural communities. We hope the MMWR rural health series will inspire even greater efforts across the nation to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity in rural areas.

We also celebrate National Native American Heritage Month in this issue. There are more than 500 federally recognized tribes in the U.S. We join other federal health agencies in raising awareness of health issues that disproportionately impact American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

Useful tools, data, and scientific articles are included in this issue of Health Equity Matters. For example, it is exciting to see new technologies emerge that effectively extend access to quality health care such as telehealth. You will learn more about telehealth and other apps that can support the adoption of health promoting behaviors in this issue.

One of the priorities of the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity is to advance the science and practice of health equity. I can think of no one whose name is more closely associated with the science of health equity than Dr. Paula Braveman, Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Director of the Center on Social Disparities in Health at the University of California, San Francisco. She is highly sought after for her expertise and her influence in health equity is global. We are honored to recognize Dr. Braveman as a Health Equity Champion. We applaud her leadership and dedication to realizing a world where all people have the opportunity to attain the best health possible!

As the end of 2017 is fast approaching, we wish our subscribers continued success in all you do to reduce health disparities, improve women’s health, and pursue health equity. President John F. Kennedy once said, “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” Your work matters!

Happy holidays!

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