April is National Minority Health Month (NMHM). NMHM is a time to raise awareness about the health disparities that racial and ethnic minorities face. Specifically, NMHM is aimed at highlighting the importance of improving the health of minority groups by encouraging action.
The 2023 theme for NMHM is Better Health Through Better Understanding.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health states that this theme focuses on improving health outcomes for racial and ethnic minority communities by providing them with culturally and linguistically competent healthcare services, information, and resources.
When patients are provided with culturally and linguistically appropriate information, they are empowered to create healthier outcomes for themselves and their communities.
Visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Webpage through April to learn more about the importance of:
- Increased health literacy for patients
- Providing culturally competent care for diverse populations
- Improving access to health care information for patients with limited English proficiency (LEP)
Racial minorities are more likely to live in primary care shortage areas. Access to primary care is critical because of its role in prevention, chronic disease management and as an overall entry point to the health care system. Here at Community Health Works, one of our focus areas within cancer prevention is on reducing the disparities in cancer incidence that minority groups face.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted existing health inequities, with Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian and Alaska Native populations in the U.S. experiencing higher rates of hospitalization and death compared to white populations.
Booker T. Washington laid the foundation for which national Minority Health Month was built. He was an educator, author, and civil rights leader who, in 1915, established National Negro Health Week (NNHW) to raise awareness to the health disparities that impacted African Americans due to poor working and living conditions.
NNHW was recognized until 1951, forming the basis for many of the health-focused observances celebrated today.
In 2000, the HHS started Health People 2010, which was the third iteration of the Healthy People framework. This call-to-action had the explicit goal of eliminating health disparities for racial and ethnic minority, as well as AI/AN communities.
On October 3, 2002, The U.S. House of Representatives (the Senate concurring) passed H. Con. Res. 388 which founded National Minority Health and Health Disparities Month.