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    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?

    Farmworker Justice: Advancing Health Equity through Education and Advocacy

    By Alexis Guild, Migrant Health Policy Analyst, Farmworker Justice

    Farmworker Justice (FJ), a national farmworker advocacy organization based in Washington, DC, strongly believes in the empowerment of our nation’s farmworkers. Farmworkers work and live under extremely hazardous conditions. They are disproportionately affected by pesticide exposure, poor housing conditions, strenuous and dangerous working conditions, and physical and mental stress. Yet according to the 2009 National Agricultural Worker’s Survey, 41% of farmworkers had not visited a U.S. healthcare provider in two years. Farmworkers face unique barriers to healthcare access. They are poor; they often live in rural areas with little public transportation; many are immigrants and don’t speak English well; they have different cultural beliefs; they risk retaliation and exploitation by employers; and often are fearful due to discrimination and xenophobia.

    Farmworker Justice’s health programs aim to positively impact the well-being of farmworkers through education and capacity-building. We work with farmworker organizations, farmworker advocates, civil rights organizations, legal services providers and migrant health centers to promote access to healthcare. Through our partners, we are able to connect farmworkers to health information. We train promotores de salud (community health workers) on HIV/AIDS prevention, workplace safety and children’s health. We also provide training to migrant healthcare providers and farmworker advocates on policies and issues that affect farmworker communities, such as immigration law, so they may enhance their outreach and provide more culturally competent care.

    At FJ, we hope to advance health equity through education, law and policy. Our nation’s farmworkers, who harvest the fruits and vegetables we eat, have earned their right to quality healthcare that is affordable, accessible and culturally competent. FJ and our partners are committed to working towards improved health access for all farmworkers.

    For more information on Farmworker Justice’s health programs, please visit www.farmworkerjustice.org

    This post originally appeared at Harvesting Justice.  Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and Farmworker Justice.


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    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?

    Promoting the Health Care Law Today because Health Equity Can’t Wait

    By Sinsi Hernández-Cancio, Director of Health Equity, Families USA

    Recently, I had the privilege of participating in a dynamic community forum in Philadelphia organized with our partners, National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and Congreso de Latinos Unidos. It was an exciting morning. U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin headlined the event, and it was standing room only. The mostly Puerto Rican crowd included seniors and students, local elected leaders and activists, health care providers and patients. They were there for one reason: They wanted to know how the health care law would make a difference in their lives. We were there because our mission is to spread the good news that the health care law is going to make an enormous difference, and we must work together to ensure the communities that need it the most take advantage of it and get the care they need.

    When it was my turn I asked the crowd some questions: “How many of you know someone whose baby was premature?” About a quarter of the hands in the room went up. “How many of you know someone with diabetes?” Now about half the audience raised their hands. And when I asked how many knew someone with asthma, the hands that shot up vastly outnumbered the rest. Yep, there it was, evidence of what I call “the Puerto Rican curse,” that yet to be explained phenomenon of Puerto Ricans having the highest asthma prevalence and mortality rates of any group in the nation.

    Back in my office in Washington, D.C., I spent a lot of time studying disparity statistics—a stream of charts and graphs flickering across my computer screen. But there in that room, overflowing with human lives, those numbers had faces. I heard their voices, felt their need. Their thirst for information was palpable, with question after question, people struggled to make sense of what seemed an overly complicated, confusing law whose relevance to their lives seemed remote. Their hunger for health care justice was even more intense. We heard story after story about the obstacles they confronted: “my drug co-pays are too expensive;” “people’s doctors’ don’t speak their language;” “it takes three months to get an appointment.”

    And because I, a Puerto Rican woman, and my little boy, are also victims of that curse, we talked about asthma—about how we know how to treat it, that it’s really pretty simple, that no child has to die. Just make sure you have both a rescue inhaler and controller medication. That is how to stay out of the hospital, keep your kid in school and learning, keep her alive. But then one mom raised her hand, and asked, with a little embarrassment and a lot of anxiety, “What should you do if you can only afford one?”

    I couldn’t answer. Telling her she’d have cheaper options in 2014 seemed cruelly absurd.

    This is why health equity can’t wait—too many moms face this terrible choice, especially in communities of color. And if it’s not asthma then it’s diabetes or heart disease or one of the many cancers that are more deadly if your skin is dark. Sure, there are things that are helping right now. Millions of seniors can better afford their medications. More than 2.5 million young adults under 26 have been able to stay on their parent’s insurance plans, including 1.3 million young people of color. Of course those are the ones lucky enough to have parents who have insurance. You can get preventive care with no copays, provided you have insurance. And that woman’s child can no longer be denied coverage because of her asthma—but whether her parents can afford to pay for the coverage is another question entirely.

    In this case, because of the health care law, that woman at the forum did have a better option. Congreso just opened a new federally qualified health center that provides free or very low cost care, right across the street, thanks to billions of dollars of new federal funding made available by the law. Because of this new money, she and her child had somewhere affordable to go.

    Nevertheless, that night, as I diligently used both my inhalers and called home to make sure my son had as well, I gave thanks for being lucky enough to not be faced with those kinds of choices, and prayed that all those who do every day somehow stay healthy and safe for another 18 months.

    This post originally appeared at the Families USA blog, Stand Up for Health Care. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and Families USA.  


    0 0

    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?

    Promoting the Health Care Law Today because Health Equity Can’t Wait

    By Sinsi Hernández-Cancio, Director of Health Equity, Families USA

    Recently, I had the privilege of participating in a dynamic community forum in Philadelphia organized with our partners, National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and Congreso de Latinos Unidos. It was an exciting morning. U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin headlined the event, and it was standing room only. The mostly Puerto Rican crowd included seniors and students, local elected leaders and activists, health care providers and patients. They were there for one reason: They wanted to know how the health care law would make a difference in their lives. We were there because our mission is to spread the good news that the health care law is going to make an enormous difference, and we must work together to ensure the communities that need it the most take advantage of it and get the care they need.

    When it was my turn I asked the crowd some questions: “How many of you know someone whose baby was premature?” About a quarter of the hands in the room went up. “How many of you know someone with diabetes?” Now about half the audience raised their hands. And when I asked how many knew someone with asthma, the hands that shot up vastly outnumbered the rest. Yep, there it was, evidence of what I call “the Puerto Rican curse,” that yet to be explained phenomenon of Puerto Ricans having the highest asthma prevalence and mortality rates of any group in the nation.

    Back in my office in Washington, D.C., I spent a lot of time studying disparity statistics—a stream of charts and graphs flickering across my computer screen. But there in that room, overflowing with human lives, those numbers had faces. I heard their voices, felt their need. Their thirst for information was palpable, with question after question, people struggled to make sense of what seemed an overly complicated, confusing law whose relevance to their lives seemed remote. Their hunger for health care justice was even more intense. We heard story after story about the obstacles they confronted: “my drug co-pays are too expensive;” “people’s doctors’ don’t speak their language;” “it takes three months to get an appointment.”

    And because I, a Puerto Rican woman, and my little boy, are also victims of that curse, we talked about asthma—about how we know how to treat it, that it’s really pretty simple, that no child has to die. Just make sure you have both a rescue inhaler and controller medication. That is how to stay out of the hospital, keep your kid in school and learning, keep her alive. But then one mom raised her hand, and asked, with a little embarrassment and a lot of anxiety, “What should you do if you can only afford one?”

    I couldn’t answer. Telling her she’d have cheaper options in 2014 seemed cruelly absurd.

    This is why health equity can’t wait—too many moms face this terrible choice, especially in communities of color. And if it’s not asthma then it’s diabetes or heart disease or one of the many cancers that are more deadly if your skin is dark. Sure, there are things that are helping right now. Millions of seniors can better afford their medications. More than 2.5 million young adults under 26 have been able to stay on their parent’s insurance plans, including 1.3 million young people of color. Of course those are the ones lucky enough to have parents who have insurance. You can get preventive care with no copays, provided you have insurance. And that woman’s child can no longer be denied coverage because of her asthma—but whether her parents can afford to pay for the coverage is another question entirely.

    In this case, because of the health care law, that woman at the forum did have a better option. Congreso just opened a new federally qualified health center that provides free or very low cost care, right across the street, thanks to billions of dollars of new federal funding made available by the law. Because of this new money, she and her child had somewhere affordable to go.

    Nevertheless, that night, as I diligently used both my inhalers and called home to make sure my son had as well, I gave thanks for being lucky enough to not be faced with those kinds of choices, and prayed that all those who do every day somehow stay healthy and safe for another 18 months.

    This post originally appeared at the Families USA blog, Stand Up for Health Care. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and Families USA.  


    0 0

    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?

    By Natalie D. Camastra, Reproductive Justice Public Policy Fellow, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

    As the only national organization advancing the reproductive health and justice of 20 million U.S. Latinas, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health takes health disparities very seriously.

    We know that Latinas suffer from cervical cancer at rates disproportionate to other groups. Among all racial/ethnic groups, Latinas have the highest incidence of cervical cancer, a rate that is nearly twice that for white non-Latina women. Latinas have the second highest rates of cervical cancer mortality, after black women, although mortality rates increase for Latinas increase along the southwest border.

    Cervical cancer is not the only place we see disparities. Latinas suffer from a number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at higher rates than their white non-Latina counterparts. Chlamydia and gonorrhea disproportionately impact our community and can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and other reproductive health consequences. Additionally, the AIDS case rate for Latinas is about five times higher than that of white women.

    So what is the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health doing to take action for health equity?

    Advancing health equity lies at the core of our work.

    Health equity is a matter of social justice: Here at NLIRH, we work to change systems and institutions that create barriers, decrease the quality, and increase the cost of health care for Latinas. Through policy advocacy, we call for changes to federal, regulatory, and state policies to improve access and quality of care for U.S. Latinas. Through community mobilization, we center the experiences of Latinas and lift the voices of Latinas for greater reproductive health and rights. Through public education, we educate the elected officials, researchers, and the public on pressing reproductive health issues. NLIRH recognizes the myriad challenges Latinas face to accessing reproductive health care, exacerbated by poverty, gender, racial and ethnic discrimination, and xenophobia, and as such, we advance a national policy agenda which includes immigration policy, LGBTQ policy, and other intersectional work. As Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noted recently, nothing is more fundamental to opportunity as good health. And despite the advancements of the past decades, with the implementation of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Latinas and immigrant women still suffer from health care disparities which unjustly limit opportunity.

    Health equity is a matter of reproductive health: Reproductive and sexual health care services are some of the most important forms of care for Latinas of reproductive age. Yet financial barriers, lack of health insurance, fear associated due to immigration status, fear of bias and discrimination by providers, and cultural and linguistic barriers (among others) decrease access to everything from contraception to quality maternity care. For instance, according to research from Hart Research Associates, more than half of Latinas ages 18 to 34 report that the cost of prescription contraception has interfered with their ability to use it consistently. Additionally, in a survey of transgender people’s experiences with discrimination in health care, 19% of respondents reported being refused care due to their transgendered or non-gender conforming status. By working for health equity, we bring down barriers to the reproductive health care that Latinas need.

    Health equity is a matter of reproductive justice: We need an equitable and sustainable health care system to empower Latinas to make the best reproductive health care decisions for themselves. We need a health care system that looks at the whole person and recognizes that access to transportation, language interpretation, cultural competency, child care, and extended hours on weekends and nights are important to advancing the health of communities of color. Advancing health equity in this way will advance reproductive justice by creating a health care system that truly supports the hopes and dreams of Latinas, their families, and their communities.

    ¡Soy Poderosa! Lifting Latina Voices for Health Equity!

    Despite the challenges, Latinas are PODEROSAS who fight for health equity in their communities across the country. Our poderosas in Texas continue to fight for reproductive justice in the Rio Grande Valley, despite an outright disregard for the reproductive and sexual health of women of color, including Latinas, by the current political system. Our poderosas in Florida are fighting anti-reproductive health and anti-immigration forces, while building bridges in social justice coalitions. Our poderosas in New York are fighting for the DREAM Act, as they see educational advancement and a path to citizenship as matters of reproductive justice. And poderosas throughout the country raised their voices in support of health reform to celebrate the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA.)

    And the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, with the strength from our poderosas, will continue to advance health equity, for example by supporting the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA), as a way to build upon the health equity foundations set in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and removing barriers for immigration women and LGBTQ Latin@s.

    With support from Latinas across the country and by working in coalitions like the Health Equity and Accountability (HEAA) Community Working Group, we will work towards securing health (la salud), dignity (la dignidad), and justice (la justicia) for Latinas, their families, and their communities.
     


    0 0

    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?

    Health Equity is a Matter of Reproductive Justice

    By Natalie D. Camastra, Reproductive Justice Public Policy Fellow, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

    As the only national organization advancing the reproductive health and justice of 20 million U.S. Latinas, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health takes health disparities very seriously.

    We know that Latinas suffer from cervical cancer at rates disproportionate to other groups. Among all racial/ethnic groups, Latinas have the highest incidence of cervical cancer, a rate that is nearly twice that for white non-Latina women. Latinas have the second highest rates of cervical cancer mortality, after black women, although mortality rates increase for Latinas increase along the southwest border.

    Cervical cancer is not the only place we see disparities. Latinas suffer from a number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at higher rates than their white non-Latina counterparts. Chlamydia and gonorrhea disproportionately impact our community and can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and other reproductive health consequences. Additionally, the AIDS case rate for Latinas is about five times higher than that of white women.

    So what is the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health doing to take action for health equity?

    Advancing health equity lies at the core of our work.

    Health equity is a matter of social justice: Here at NLIRH, we work to change systems and institutions that create barriers, decrease the quality, and increase the cost of health care for Latinas. Through policy advocacy, we call for changes to federal, regulatory, and state policies to improve access and quality of care for U.S. Latinas. Through community mobilization, we center the experiences of Latinas and lift the voices of Latinas for greater reproductive health and rights. Through public education, we educate the elected officials, researchers, and the public on pressing reproductive health issues. NLIRH recognizes the myriad challenges Latinas face to accessing reproductive health care, exacerbated by poverty, gender, racial and ethnic discrimination, and xenophobia, and as such, we advance a national policy agenda which includes immigration policy, LGBTQ policy, and other intersectional work. As Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noted recently, nothing is more fundamental to opportunity as good health. And despite the advancements of the past decades, with the implementation of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Latinas and immigrant women still suffer from health care disparities which unjustly limit opportunity.

    Health equity is a matter of reproductive health: Reproductive and sexual health care services are some of the most important forms of care for Latinas of reproductive age. Yet financial barriers, lack of health insurance, fear associated due to immigration status, fear of bias and discrimination by providers, and cultural and linguistic barriers (among others) decrease access to everything from contraception to quality maternity care. For instance, according to research from Hart Research Associates, more than half of Latinas ages 18 to 34 report that the cost of prescription contraception has interfered with their ability to use it consistently. Additionally, in a survey of transgender people’s experiences with discrimination in health care, 19% of respondents reported being refused care due to their transgendered or non-gender conforming status. By working for health equity, we bring down barriers to the reproductive health care that Latinas need.

    Health equity is a matter of reproductive justice: We need an equitable and sustainable health care system to empower Latinas to make the best reproductive health care decisions for themselves. We need a health care system that looks at the whole person and recognizes that access to transportation, language interpretation, cultural competency, child care, and extended hours on weekends and nights are important to advancing the health of communities of color. Advancing health equity in this way will advance reproductive justice by creating a health care system that truly supports the hopes and dreams of Latinas, their families, and their communities.

    ¡Soy Poderosa! Lifting Latina Voices for Health Equity!

    Despite the challenges, Latinas are PODEROSAS who fight for health equity in their communities across the country. Our poderosas in Texas continue to fight for reproductive justice in the Rio Grande Valley, despite an outright disregard for the reproductive and sexual health of women of color, including Latinas, by the current political system. Our poderosas in Florida are fighting anti-reproductive health and anti-immigration forces, while building bridges in social justice coalitions. Our poderosas in New York are fighting for the DREAM Act, as they see educational advancement and a path to citizenship as matters of reproductive justice. And poderosas throughout the country raised their voices in support of health reform to celebrate the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA.)

    And the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, with the strength from our poderosas, will continue to advance health equity, for example by supporting the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA), as a way to build upon the health equity foundations set in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and removing barriers for immigration women and LGBTQ Latin@s.

    With support from Latinas across the country and by working in coalitions like the Health Equity and Accountability (HEAA) Community Working Group, we will work towards securing health (la salud), dignity (la dignidad), and justice (la justicia) for Latinas, their families, and their communities.

    This post originally appeared at Nuestra Vida, Nuestra Voz. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.


    0 0

    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?

    African American Elder Health Disparities

    By Delane Sims, Founder/Chair, Senior Moments

    Senior Moments, objective is to help connect elders, who are homebound and disabled, to resources to promote health and independence. Senior Moments has found that a large number of elders who are home alone, without family or community support, are of African American decent. Many African American elders in the San Francisco Bay Area face huge health disparities. However, our research has revealed that African American elders face these disparities nationally. It is important to consider the source of these disparities. Until the source is exposed, the symptoms will persist. According to a study by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) African Americans tend to have higher rates of chronic diseases, functional impairment, and indicators of risk such as hypertension. Racial oppression, discrimination, and institutional racism have been identified as potential explanations for poorer health and increased risk of stress-related disease.

    In the United States, millions of African American elders are dying due to obstacles to fairness and equal access. While representing only 12% of the population in New Orleans, 58% of elderly Black people lost their lives during hurricane Katrina. These facts represent only a fraction of the thousands of needless deaths suffered by Black seniors daily across America. Low-income African American elders are the most undeserved and vulnerable groups in our society. This conundrum is not just a problem in the Black community - it is a human rights issue. If America does not come face to face with the disenfranchisement, disparities and inequalities that affect our nation’s African American elders, we will all pay a price that will be brutally painful and completely unaffordable.

    Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and Senior Moments.


    0 0

    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?

    By Delane Sims, Founder/Chair, Senior Moments

    Senior Moments, objective is to help connect elders, who are homebound and disabled, to resources to promote health and independence. Senior Moments has found that a large number of elders who are home alone, without family or community support, are of African American decent. Many African American elders in the San Francisco Bay Area face huge health disparities. However, our research has revealed that African American elders face these disparities nationally. It is important to consider the source of these disparities. Until the source is exposed, the symptoms will persist. According to a study by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) African Americans tend to have higher rates of chronic diseases, functional impairment, and indicators of risk such as hypertension. Racial oppression, discrimination, and institutional racism have been identified as potential explanations for poorer health and increased risk of stress-related disease.

    In the United States, millions of African American elders are dying due to obstacles to fairness and equal access. While representing only 12% of the population in New Orleans, 58% of elderly Black people lost their lives during hurricane Katrina. These facts represent only a fraction of the thousands of needless deaths suffered by Black seniors daily across America. Low-income African American elders are the most undeserved and vulnerable groups in our society. This conundrum is not just a problem in the Black community - it is a human rights issue. If America does not come face to face with the disenfranchisement, disparities and inequalities that affect our nation’s African American elders, we will all pay a price that will be brutally painful and completely unaffordable.


    0 0

    Do you or someone you know have an artistic bent? The Friends of the American Latino Museum (FRIENDS) is looking for a design that captures the spirit of the American Latino Community for their 2012 Campaign Design Contest. The winner gets free flight to attend the 2012 NCLR Annual Conference in Las Vegas, July 7–10, where the official design will be unveiled.

    The winning design will be featured on campaign posters, informational handouts, promotional buttons, donation cards, and other materials to create awareness and encourage the approval of the “Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act.” The legislation would allow the creation of the only national museum dedicated to the origins and contributions of the American Latino community.

    The deadline for submission is April 30, 2012 at midnight PDT. The finalists will be announced May 4.

    Remember—you don’t need to be a professional artist. If you think you can present the American Latino experience through a sculpture, painting, or a graphic design, show your talent and be part of a historic movement!  


    0 0

    Do you or someone you know have an artistic bent? The Friends of the American Latino Museum (FRIENDS) is looking for a design that captures the spirit of the American Latino Community for their 2012 Campaign Design Contest. The winner gets free flight to attend the 2012 NCLR Annual Conference in Las Vegas, July 7–10, where the official design will be unveiled.

    The winning design will be featured on campaign posters, informational handouts, promotional buttons, donation cards, and other materials to create awareness and encourage the approval of the “Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act.” The legislation would allow the creation of the only national museum dedicated to the origins and contributions of the American Latino community.

    The deadline for submission is April 30, 2012 at midnight PDT. The finalists will be announced May 4.

    Remember—you don’t need to be a professional artist. If you think you can present the American Latino experience through a sculpture, painting, or a graphic design, show your talent and be part of a historic movement!  


    0 0

    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?  

    By Jeffrey Levi, Ph.D., Executive Director, Trust for America's Health 

    Chronic diseases -- such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes -- are responsible for seven out of 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75 percent of the nation's health spending. Obesity alone is related to more than 30 illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer.

    Unfortunately, disadvantaged communities are at higher risk for a multitude of preventable health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis B and C, and infant mortality. These devastating health disparities compromise the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities.

    In fact, black children are four times as likely to die from asthma as non-Hispanic white children, and Hispanics are 1.6 times more likely than non-Hispanic whites to die of diabetes. Health disparities are intricately linked with social inequalities based on a variety of factors, including race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and gender identity, gender, age, disability, geography, and religion. In order to improve the health of vulnerable communities, we must create and leverage opportunities to address the social determinants of health and promote health equity.

    If we continue on this path, America will never get health care spending under control, the economy will suffer and our children will continue to be at risk of living shorter and less healthy lives than their parents.

    Two years ago, the federal government made an historic investment into reversing health disparities and ensuring everyone who wants to be healthy can be. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides significant opportunities to improve the health of all Americans, including those in greatest need. The ACA created The National Prevention Strategy (NPS), which prioritizes prevention and wellness and aims to increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life. The NPS reflects the commitment of the 17 federal cabinet agencies and offices that are part of the National Prevention and Health Promotion Council to addressing health disparities, which is one of the Strategy's four strategic directions. We know that unless the health and non-health contributors to health outcomes are addressed, we will never create health equity in the United States.

    In addition to the NPS, the ACA created the Prevention and Public Health Fund (Fund), which provides an unprecedented investment of $12.5 billion over the next ten years in the types of transformative activities proposed in the NPS. The Fund invests in proven, effective programs to prevent diseases and injuries in American communities and that help people make the healthy choice and stay happy and productive. Included in the Fund, the Community Transformation Grant (CTG) program represents a critical opportunity to improve the health of disadvantaged communities.

    The CTG program invests in effective community-based interventions. Specifically, the program addresses the leading causes of chronic disease, such as tobacco use, obesity and poor nutrition, as well as health disparities. The CTG program aims to reduce the obesity rate through nutrition and physical activity interventions by five percent over five years. While achieving this goal would have important benefits for all Americans, saving an estimated $30 billion in health care costs according to a recent study, it is likely the gains would be most significant for disadvantaged populations.

    Higher obesity rates persist in racial and ethnic minorities, those with less education, and those who make less money. The ACA, NPS, Fund and CTG program present seminal opportunities to improve the health of the most at-risk populations.

    All Americans should have the opportunity to lead long, healthy and productive lives. And yet, it is projected that by year 2050, if no action is taken, one in two African-American and Hispanic-Latino children born this generation will develop type 2 diabetes as adults. This statistic is unacceptable because it is preventable. It is necessary to leverage the many opportunities available today in order to promote the future health of all Americans, especially those in greatest need.

    This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and Trust For America's Health.


    0 0

    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?  

    Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice: Eliminating Health Disparities

    By Jeffrey Levi, Ph.D., Executive Director, Trust for America's Health 

    Chronic diseases -- such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes -- are responsible for seven out of 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75 percent of the nation's health spending. Obesity alone is related to more than 30 illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer.

    Unfortunately, disadvantaged communities are at higher risk for a multitude of preventable health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis B and C, and infant mortality. These devastating health disparities compromise the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities.

    In fact, black children are four times as likely to die from asthma as non-Hispanic white children, and Hispanics are 1.6 times more likely than non-Hispanic whites to die of diabetes. Health disparities are intricately linked with social inequalities based on a variety of factors, including race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and gender identity, gender, age, disability, geography, and religion. In order to improve the health of vulnerable communities, we must create and leverage opportunities to address the social determinants of health and promote health equity.

    If we continue on this path, America will never get health care spending under control, the economy will suffer and our children will continue to be at risk of living shorter and less healthy lives than their parents.

    Two years ago, the federal government made an historic investment into reversing health disparities and ensuring everyone who wants to be healthy can be. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides significant opportunities to improve the health of all Americans, including those in greatest need. The ACA created The National Prevention Strategy (NPS), which prioritizes prevention and wellness and aims to increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life. The NPS reflects the commitment of the 17 federal cabinet agencies and offices that are part of the National Prevention and Health Promotion Council to addressing health disparities, which is one of the Strategy's four strategic directions. We know that unless the health and non-health contributors to health outcomes are addressed, we will never create health equity in the United States.

    In addition to the NPS, the ACA created the Prevention and Public Health Fund (Fund), which provides an unprecedented investment of $12.5 billion over the next ten years in the types of transformative activities proposed in the NPS. The Fund invests in proven, effective programs to prevent diseases and injuries in American communities and that help people make the healthy choice and stay happy and productive. Included in the Fund, the Community Transformation Grant (CTG) program represents a critical opportunity to improve the health of disadvantaged communities.

    The CTG program invests in effective community-based interventions. Specifically, the program addresses the leading causes of chronic disease, such as tobacco use, obesity and poor nutrition, as well as health disparities. The CTG program aims to reduce the obesity rate through nutrition and physical activity interventions by five percent over five years. While achieving this goal would have important benefits for all Americans, saving an estimated $30 billion in health care costs according to a recent study, it is likely the gains would be most significant for disadvantaged populations.

    Higher obesity rates persist in racial and ethnic minorities, those with less education, and those who make less money. The ACA, NPS, Fund and CTG program present seminal opportunities to improve the health of the most at-risk populations.

    All Americans should have the opportunity to lead long, healthy and productive lives. And yet, it is projected that by year 2050, if no action is taken, one in two African-American and Hispanic-Latino children born this generation will develop type 2 diabetes as adults. This statistic is unacceptable because it is preventable. It is necessary to leverage the many opportunities available today in order to promote the future health of all Americans, especially those in greatest need.

    This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and Trust For America's Health.


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    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?   

    Maryland has said – now is the time for health equity! 

    By Leni Preston, Chair, Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform

    It’s National Minority Health Month and the Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform (Coalition) is working from the principle: Reform. It’s Good for Your Health to advance the mission of health equity in Maryland. Through the successful implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other state-based initiatives we recognize a unique, once in a generation opportunity to transform the health care landscape and to ensure that everyone has access to the full range of health care services they need to live healthy and productive lives. We also know that unless we address the existing gender, racial and ethnic disparities we will not have lived up to the promise of reform.

    In Maryland we are fortunate that Governor O’Malley has made the ACA’s full implementation a high priority. His Administration has used this opportunity to give stakeholders a real and meaningful role in the process and to emphasize the goal of achieving health equity. The Coalition has been involved in drafting legislation for Maryland’s Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2012 (SB238/HB443), which sets out the basic principle of health equity, and another law that established Health Enterprise Zones (SB234/HB439) for the purpose of reducing health disparities. The Coalition has partnered with Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to implement the State Health Improvement Process (SHIP). This establishes 39 measurable objectives to improve health outcomes, 24 of which directly address disparities. The Coalition is engaging with groups on the local level through health improvement coalitions to support the SHIP’s goals.

    We are also kicking off two exciting initiatives. The first is the publication of a white paper, Health Equity: Maryland’s Call to Action. In this we will highlight the challenges and opportunities to achieve health equity through health care reform and provide recommendations on how to achieve these. This will be released in September 2012 at a forum – Health Care. Women of Color Get It. This will bring together those working in areas that include health policy, public health, consumer advocacy, and minority health and disparities to engage in discussions throughout which will be interwoven the thread of achieving health equity in our state. At the same time, we want to empower women of color to raise their own voices to achieve our shared goals of high-quality, affordable, comprehensive and accessible health care for all.

    This post originally appeared on the Mom's Rising blog and Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform. 


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    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?   

    Maryland has said – now is the time for health equity! 

    By Leni Preston, Chair, Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform

    It’s National Minority Health Month and the Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform (Coalition) is working from the principle: Reform. It’s Good for Your Health to advance the mission of health equity in Maryland. Through the successful implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other state-based initiatives we recognize a unique, once in a generation opportunity to transform the health care landscape and to ensure that everyone has access to the full range of health care services they need to live healthy and productive lives. We also know that unless we address the existing gender, racial and ethnic disparities we will not have lived up to the promise of reform.

    In Maryland we are fortunate that Governor O’Malley has made the ACA’s full implementation a high priority. His Administration has used this opportunity to give stakeholders a real and meaningful role in the process and to emphasize the goal of achieving health equity. The Coalition has been involved in drafting legislation for Maryland’s Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2012 (SB238/HB443), which sets out the basic principle of health equity, and another law that established Health Enterprise Zones (SB234/HB439) for the purpose of reducing health disparities. The Coalition has partnered with Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to implement the State Health Improvement Process (SHIP). This establishes 39 measurable objectives to improve health outcomes, 24 of which directly address disparities. The Coalition is engaging with groups on the local level through health improvement coalitions to support the SHIP’s goals.

    We are also kicking off two exciting initiatives. The first is the publication of a white paper, Health Equity: Maryland’s Call to Action. In this we will highlight the challenges and opportunities to achieve health equity through health care reform and provide recommendations on how to achieve these. This will be released in September 2012 at a forum – Health Care. Women of Color Get It. This will bring together those working in areas that include health policy, public health, consumer advocacy, and minority health and disparities to engage in discussions throughout which will be interwoven the thread of achieving health equity in our state. At the same time, we want to empower women of color to raise their own voices to achieve our shared goals of high-quality, affordable, comprehensive and accessible health care for all.

    This post originally appeared on the Mom's Rising blog. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform. 


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    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?   

    United We Stand: Achieving Health Equity for All

    By Kellan Baker, MPH, MA, Health Policy Analyst, LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress; Patrick Paschall, Esq., Policy Advocate, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; and Harper Jean Tobin, Esq., Policy Counsel, National Center for Transgender Equality

    This blog post is jointly written by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress. This post is part of the Blog Carnival “Health Equity Can’t Wait,” taking place April 25-27, 2012.

    The Center for American Progress, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force are partners in the Health Equity and Accountability Act Community Working Group, a broad coalition of health equity advocates. A cornerstone of this group’s work over the last year, the Health Equity and Accountability Act, is a groundbreaking effort to promote health at the intersections of disparities related to factors such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigrant status, and disability status.

    We do this important work at the intersections because, as the Institute of Medicine report on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) health emphasizes, “the experiences of LGBT individuals are not uniform and are shaped by factors of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geographical location, and age, any of which can have an effect on health-related concerns and needs.”

    Moreover, the effects of health disparities multiply exponentially for those who are members of more than one minority population: LGBT people of color may be more likely to experience worse health and greater health care access disparities than either their heterosexual and non-transgender counterparts within communities of color or their white counterparts within the LGBT population.

    But the full extent of LGBT health disparities remains unknown. Major health surveys collecting data that can help identify disparities do not ask respondents about their sexual orientation or gender identity, meaning that researchers must often rely on anecdotal data and limited studies that cannot fully explore LGBT health disparities. This data gap particularly erases the experiences of those at the intersections of multiple disparity populations, such as LGBT communities of color.

    Some Things We Do Know about LGBT People and Health Disparities

    According to the American Community Survey, same-sex couples live in almost every county across the country. More than one million of these families, many of them Black and Latina lesbians, are raising children. The challenges these families and other LGBT people face include discrimination in employment, housing, relationship recognition, health insurance, and health care access—all of which give rise to health disparities such as greater exposure to violence, higher rates of conditions such as HIV and cancer, and a greater burden of mental health concerns such as depression.

    Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, released in 2011 by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, found that one in five transgender people has been refused health care outright due to anti-transgender bias. Such disparities are worst across the board for transgender people of color: For example, 31 percent of African-American transgender respondents reported being uninsured, compared to 17 percent of white respondents.

    How LGBT Advocates Are Advancing Health Equity

    The lack of data on LGBT health means that one of our biggest priorities is data collection. We are currently working with the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that federally supported health surveys collect information about the health needs and experiences of LGBT people in order to give a much fuller picture of the diversity of LGBT communities. As part of its LGBT Data Progression Plan, the department is developing sexual orientation and gender identity questions for surveys such as the National Health Interview Survey.

    We are also informing LGBT people about their rights under the health reform law. In particular, recent federal regulations ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity by the state-based health insurance exchanges, which will connect consumers with affordable private coverage starting in 2014. The Affordable Care Act also extends nondiscrimination protections in the health system on the basis of HIV/AIDS status and sex. Such sex protections have been interpreted to include gender identity, including in a recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruling that sex protections prohibit employment discrimination against transgender people.

    Other recent health equity efforts include:

    These and other efforts, including the Health Equity and Accountability Act, are critical steps in the direction of building a world in which complexity of identity is not reduced to multiplicity of risk. Achieving health equity for all will require collecting more data, conducting more research, and dedicating more resources to understanding and fighting the health disparities that affect disadvantaged communities. Our work is based on the conviction that together, we can end disparities and build a healthier nation.

     This post originally appeared on The Task Force Blog and Think Progress LGBT. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress.


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    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?   

    United We Stand: Achieving Health Equity for All

    By Kellan Baker, MPH, MA, Health Policy Analyst, LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress; Patrick Paschall, Esq., Policy Advocate, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; and Harper Jean Tobin, Esq., Policy Counsel, National Center for Transgender Equality

    This blog post is jointly written by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress. This post is part of the Blog Carnival “Health Equity Can’t Wait,” taking place April 25-27, 2012.

    The Center for American Progress, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force are partners in the Health Equity and Accountability Act Community Working Group, a broad coalition of health equity advocates. A cornerstone of this group’s work over the last year, the Health Equity and Accountability Act, is a groundbreaking effort to promote health at the intersections of disparities related to factors such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigrant status, and disability status.

    We do this important work at the intersections because, as the Institute of Medicine report on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) health emphasizes, “the experiences of LGBT individuals are not uniform and are shaped by factors of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geographical location, and age, any of which can have an effect on health-related concerns and needs.”

    Moreover, the effects of health disparities multiply exponentially for those who are members of more than one minority population: LGBT people of color may be more likely to experience worse health and greater health care access disparities than either their heterosexual and non-transgender counterparts within communities of color or their white counterparts within the LGBT population.

    But the full extent of LGBT health disparities remains unknown. Major health surveys collecting data that can help identify disparities do not ask respondents about their sexual orientation or gender identity, meaning that researchers must often rely on anecdotal data and limited studies that cannot fully explore LGBT health disparities. This data gap particularly erases the experiences of those at the intersections of multiple disparity populations, such as LGBT communities of color.

    Some Things We Do Know about LGBT People and Health Disparities

    According to the American Community Survey, same-sex couples live in almost every county across the country. More than one million of these families, many of them Black and Latina lesbians, are raising children. The challenges these families and other LGBT people face include discrimination in employment, housing, relationship recognition, health insurance, and health care access—all of which give rise to health disparities such as greater exposure to violence, higher rates of conditions such as HIV and cancer, and a greater burden of mental health concerns such as depression.

    Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, released in 2011 by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, found that one in five transgender people has been refused health care outright due to anti-transgender bias. Such disparities are worst across the board for transgender people of color: For example, 31 percent of African-American transgender respondents reported being uninsured, compared to 17 percent of white respondents.

    How LGBT Advocates Are Advancing Health Equity

    The lack of data on LGBT health means that one of our biggest priorities is data collection. We are currently working with the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that federally supported health surveys collect information about the health needs and experiences of LGBT people in order to give a much fuller picture of the diversity of LGBT communities. As part of its LGBT Data Progression Plan, the department is developing sexual orientation and gender identity questions for surveys such as the National Health Interview Survey.

    We are also informing LGBT people about their rights under the health reform law. In particular, recent federal regulations ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity by the state-based health insurance exchanges, which will connect consumers with affordable private coverage starting in 2014. The Affordable Care Act also extends nondiscrimination protections in the health system on the basis of HIV/AIDS status and sex. Such sex protections have been interpreted to include gender identity, including in a recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruling that sex protections prohibit employment discrimination against transgender people.

    Other recent health equity efforts include:

    These and other efforts, including the Health Equity and Accountability Act, are critical steps in the direction of building a world in which complexity of identity is not reduced to multiplicity of risk. Achieving health equity for all will require collecting more data, conducting more research, and dedicating more resources to understanding and fighting the health disparities that affect disadvantaged communities. Our work is based on the conviction that together, we can end disparities and build a healthier nation.

     This post originally appeared on The Task Force Blog and Think Progress. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress.


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    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?   

    Our Communities Count: Advancing Health Equity by Improving Data

    By,  Rebecca Spence, Reproductive Justice Fellow, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

    For the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, health equity means that every person and community has a fair chance to attain optimal health and well-being. To achieve health equity, APIAHF influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs). 

    In our 25 years as health justice advocates, we have learned this important lesson: you don’t count unless you are counted. Our communities suffer the consequences of limited data and research about the health and well-being of AA and NHPI communities through poorer health outcomes. Without appropriate data to inform how resources are allocated, many members of our communities are left out of health system planning, financing and programming. For decades, scientists, researchers and policymakers have treated Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders as one homogeneous group, leading to false conclusions about the incidence and impact of disease in our communities. In addition, the underlying social and economic factors that drive health care disparities cannot be understood without data about the context. Therefore, APIAHF advocates for specific action around data collection, reporting and analysis to better advocate for the needs of our communities, especially disaggregated data.

    Disaggregated Data on Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Communities. 

    Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities trace their heritage to over 50 different countries and speak over 100 languages. Separating - or ‘disaggregating’- data between these subgroups would reveal major disparities in the health status and access to health care. 

    For example, doctors have long considered all Asian women to have a lower risk of breast cancer because, in the aggregate, Asian women are diagnosed at a significantly lower rate than women of other ethnicities. Disaggregated data, however, reveal that United States-born Chinese and Filipina women under the age of fifty-five have higher rates of breast cancer than white women. Advocate Susan Shinagawa tells her story of how the lack of data impacted her health:

    I was denied a biopsy for a prominent and painful breast lump by a surgical oncologist who admonished me that, “Asian women don’t get breast cancer.” After seeking a second opinion and undergoing a surgical biopsy, I was eventually diagnosed with infiltrating breast cancer at the age of 34, and underwent a modified radical mastectomy, followed by combination chemotherapy. Ten years later, routine mammography revealed an unrelated breast cancer in my left breast, for which I underwent a second mastectomy. I have been advocating for better minority health data for the 20 years since my first breast cancer diagnosis. Yet, I continue to meet (primarily young) [Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander] women diagnosed with breast cancer who were initially told by their health care providers that “Asian women don’t get breast cancer.

    Enriching data to provide information particular to each group provides national and state policymakers and local leaders with the ability to set priorities and allocate resources to address racial and ethnic disparities in each community. Disaggregated data provides providers and patients with the information they need to make informed decisions about screening, prevention, care and treatment for disease.

    Advocacy organizations like APIAHF cannot collect and analyze large sets of data that would reveal these disparities on our own. That’s why we support federal efforts under the Affordable Care Act and the Health Equity and Accountability Act to collect data, to link this data to quality and accessibility measures to ensure that Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities and individuals are getting the care they need.


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    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?   

    Our Communities Count: Advancing Health Equity by Improving Data

    By,  Rebecca Spence, Reproductive Justice Fellow, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

    For the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, health equity means that every person and community has a fair chance to attain optimal health and well-being. To achieve health equity, APIAHF influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs). 

    In our 25 years as health justice advocates, we have learned this important lesson: you don’t count unless you are counted. Our communities suffer the consequences of limited data and research about the health and well-being of AA and NHPI communities through poorer health outcomes. Without appropriate data to inform how resources are allocated, many members of our communities are left out of health system planning, financing and programming. For decades, scientists, researchers and policymakers have treated Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders as one homogeneous group, leading to false conclusions about the incidence and impact of disease in our communities. In addition, the underlying social and economic factors that drive health care disparities cannot be understood without data about the context. Therefore, APIAHF advocates for specific action around data collection, reporting and analysis to better advocate for the needs of our communities, especially disaggregated data.

    Disaggregated Data on Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Communities. 

    Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities trace their heritage to over 50 different countries and speak over 100 languages. Separating - or ‘disaggregating’- data between these subgroups would reveal major disparities in the health status and access to health care. 

    For example, doctors have long considered all Asian women to have a lower risk of breast cancer because, in the aggregate, Asian women are diagnosed at a significantly lower rate than women of other ethnicities. Disaggregated data, however, reveal that United States-born Chinese and Filipina women under the age of fifty-five have higher rates of breast cancer than white women. Advocate Susan Shinagawa tells her story of how the lack of data impacted her health:

    I was denied a biopsy for a prominent and painful breast lump by a surgical oncologist who admonished me that, “Asian women don’t get breast cancer.” After seeking a second opinion and undergoing a surgical biopsy, I was eventually diagnosed with infiltrating breast cancer at the age of 34, and underwent a modified radical mastectomy, followed by combination chemotherapy. Ten years later, routine mammography revealed an unrelated breast cancer in my left breast, for which I underwent a second mastectomy. I have been advocating for better minority health data for the 20 years since my first breast cancer diagnosis. Yet, I continue to meet (primarily young) [Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander] women diagnosed with breast cancer who were initially told by their health care providers that “Asian women don’t get breast cancer.

    Enriching data to provide information particular to each group provides national and state policymakers and local leaders with the ability to set priorities and allocate resources to address racial and ethnic disparities in each community. Disaggregated data provides providers and patients with the information they need to make informed decisions about screening, prevention, care and treatment for disease.

    Advocacy organizations like APIAHF cannot collect and analyze large sets of data that would reveal these disparities on our own. That’s why we support federal efforts under the Affordable Care Act and the Health Equity and Accountability Act to collect data, to link this data to quality and accessibility measures to ensure that Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities and individuals are getting the care they need.


    0 0

    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?   

    Health Equity Can’t Wait: Supporting A Health Equity Agenda In Wisconsin

    by Lacy Langbecker, MSW, Field Student/Intern, Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health

    This post is part of the Health Equity Can’t Wait, Act now in your CommUNITY blog carnival launched by the Health Equity and Accountability Act Working Group.

    Recognizing the disparities in health care services and access in Wisconsin women, which are even greater for women of color, the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health (WAWH) has been engaging the community in health care equity for women through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

    The WAWH has done so through their Raising Wisconsin Women’s Voices health care reform BLOG, which highlights important provisions of health care reform that Wisconsin women need. The blog is mean to be a resource for our followers to go to learn about provisions and what it means for them and their family.

    Along with our blog we have been vocal to our policymakers and to the media about the importance of meaningful health care reform implementation in our state. Unfortunately, in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker has halted any implementation of the ACA and at the same time is making health care access through the state’s Medicaid programs, like BadgerCare, less attainable for Wisconsinites.

    While our agenda for attaining health equity through the ACA was once to assist our policymakers in making this legislation the most meaningful it can be in Wisconsin, the Governor’s halt on any forth moving legislation to do so has shifted our attention to using a different method: Raising Wisconsin Women’s VOICES!

    Women, when they are appropriately and truthfully educated on the implications of this landmark health law are more likely to support it. WAWH has used this finding to make women aware about how their lives will be impacted – for the better – with the ACA. We have done so by hosting webinars to give women a “101” explanation of the ACA as well as the HEALTH CARE EXCHANGES. Last month, we launched and completed a statewide tour to “EDUCATE AND CELEBRATE: HOW WISCONSIN WOMEN WIN WITH HEALTH CARE REFORM.”

    Also last month, WAWH Executive Director was recognized for her efforts by the White House as a WHITE HOUSE CHAMPION OF CHANGE. The award was meant to highlight individuals who have championed health care access throughout their career and that have done work to educate their community on the benefits of the ACA.

    Women are most likely to be the health care coordinators in their family, and are also the least likely to have health care access through an employer. This disparity increases for women of a different ethnic or racial background than white women. Women are prone to health care practices such as “gender rating” where they are charged more than men for the same plan. Further, in 2009, 87% of health plans did not offer maternity care. This is especially important for health equity in Wisconsin, as black babies are three times more likely to die before their first birthday than white babies – oftentimes as a result of low birth weight, preterm birth, or both – which are adverse birth outcomes that increase without adequate maternity care.

    Healthy women contribute to health families and communities, and health care access is important for all women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Health care access is an important factor in attaining health care equity, and WAWH will continue to mobilize individuals and organizations in supporting the ACA to achieve this goal.

    Be sure to check in tomorrow for day two’s post for the Health Equity Can’t Wait blog carnival.

    This post originally appeared at Raising Women's Voices. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health.


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    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?   

    Health Equity Can’t Wait: Supporting A Health Equity Agenda In Wisconsin

    by Lacy Langbecker, MSW, Field Student/Intern, Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health

    This post is part of the Health Equity Can’t Wait, Act now in your CommUNITY blog carnival launched by the Health Equity and Accountability Act Working Group.

    Recognizing the disparities in health care services and access in Wisconsin women, which are even greater for women of color, the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health (WAWH) has been engaging the community in health care equity for women through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

    The WAWH has done so through their Raising Wisconsin Women’s Voices health care reform BLOG, which highlights important provisions of health care reform that Wisconsin women need. The blog is mean to be a resource for our followers to go to learn about provisions and what it means for them and their family.

    Along with our blog we have been vocal to our policymakers and to the media about the importance of meaningful health care reform implementation in our state. Unfortunately, in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker has halted any implementation of the ACA and at the same time is making health care access through the state’s Medicaid programs, like BadgerCare, less attainable for Wisconsinites.

    While our agenda for attaining health equity through the ACA was once to assist our policymakers in making this legislation the most meaningful it can be in Wisconsin, the Governor’s halt on any forth moving legislation to do so has shifted our attention to using a different method: Raising Wisconsin Women’s VOICES!

    Women, when they are appropriately and truthfully educated on the implications of this landmark health law are more likely to support it. WAWH has used this finding to make women aware about how their lives will be impacted – for the better – with the ACA. We have done so by hosting webinars to give women a “101” explanation of the ACA as well as the HEALTH CARE EXCHANGES. Last month, we launched and completed a statewide tour to “EDUCATE AND CELEBRATE: HOW WISCONSIN WOMEN WIN WITH HEALTH CARE REFORM.”

    Also last month, WAWH Executive Director was recognized for her efforts by the White House as a WHITE HOUSE CHAMPION OF CHANGE. The award was meant to highlight individuals who have championed health care access throughout their career and that have done work to educate their community on the benefits of the ACA.

    Women are most likely to be the health care coordinators in their family, and are also the least likely to have health care access through an employer. This disparity increases for women of a different ethnic or racial background than white women. Women are prone to health care practices such as “gender rating” where they are charged more than men for the same plan. Further, in 2009, 87% of health plans did not offer maternity care. This is especially important for health equity in Wisconsin, as black babies are three times more likely to die before their first birthday than white babies – oftentimes as a result of low birth weight, preterm birth, or both – which are adverse birth outcomes that increase without adequate maternity care.

    Healthy women contribute to health families and communities, and health care access is important for all women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Health care access is an important factor in attaining health care equity, and WAWH will continue to mobilize individuals and organizations in supporting the ACA to achieve this goal.

    Be sure to check in tomorrow for day two’s post for the Health Equity Can’t Wait blog carnival.

    This post originally appeared at Raising Women's Voices. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health.


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    We are still downloading, processing and compiling information on today's Supreme Court hearing on SB 1070. We would be remiss, however, if we offered no information about what actually happened inside! 

    There's still a lot more to go through and we won't have a final ruling until probably some time in June. Suffice it to say, the immigration movement had a tough day in court today, but things are definitely not over. And, in the words of Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), we will continue to fight no matter the outcome.

    Our friends at Immigration Impact have a great piece up about what went down today. It's important to keep in mind that the question before the Court was, "whether federal immigration laws "pre-empt" four provisions of SB 1070 that were blocked by lower courts."

    More from the Immigration Impact report:

    To begin with, the government’s arguments against Section 2(B)—which requires police to check the immigration status of all persons they stop or arrest if “reasonable suspicion” exists that they are in the country illegally—were met with great skepticism by the Court. The United States had argued that requiring such status checks would disrupt the federal government’s focus on noncitizens convicted of serious crimes because it shifts the allocation of resources to non-serious offenders. As Chief Justice Roberts stated, however, simply asking the government whether a particular person is in the country illegally doesn’t require the government to initiate removal proceedings against that person.
    While the questioning may suggest that the Court could lift the injunction against Section 2(B), numerous Justices expressed concern about how the provision would be applied in practice. For example, Justice Sotomayor asked how long officers would be able to detain people without violating the Constitution. Justice Kennedy asked what would happen if it took two weeks to confirm a person’s immigration status. And Justice Alito asked whether Arizona officers would always have to check the immigration status of people from states that issue driver’s licenses without proof of lawful presence.
    In sum, while the argument represented the first time the Supreme Court considered the validity of SB 1070, it certainly may not be the last. The Justices’ questions made clear that even if part or all of the Arizona law is not preempted by federal statutes, it may be impossible to apply in practice without violating individuals’ constitutional rights. Given the demonstrated policy drawbacks of state immigration enforcement laws, it remains possible that other states will decline to enact copycat measures in the future. But even if states do press forward, today’s Supreme Court argument showed that legal questions about such laws will continue to occupy courts for years to come.

    Look for more analysis as well as video and pictures from the rally outside the Court.


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