Minority Health Disparities
Who deals with minority health and health disparities?
Minority health disparities refer to the health discrepancy associated with particular racial and ethnic groups. The 2010 US Census revealed that in the last century 36% of the population in the US belongs to an ethnic or racial minority group.
Certain health issues that concern specific minority groups are infant mortality rates, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection, and immunizations.
Despite the improvement in health indicators like life expectancy and infant mortality for a majority of Americans, some minorities still have to deal with a burden of death, preventable disease, and disability compared to their non-minority counterparts.
NIMHD or National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, a US government health institute, aims to improve minority health and eradicate health disparities through scientific research.
NIMHD, which is part of the NIH (National Institutes of Health), also oversees several programs that form the core of NIH’s job of discovering new knowledge that would ensure better health for everyone.
NIMHD’s programs for minority health and health disparities include:
- Extramural Research Programs
While the extramural programs encourage studying various aspects of minority health disparities related to molecular, genetic, and biological science to behavioral, clinical, and translational research, in addition to research on workforce development, health systems, and environmental justice.
- Intramural Research Programs
This supports multidisciplinary and integrative research with an emphasis on the fundamental, translational/clinical, and behavioral/social sciences.
- NIMHD Collaborations
From the Jackson Heart Study (the largest investigation of factors triggering cardiovascular disease among African-Americans) to CDC’s REACH program (a community health program) and ABCD (Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development) study, the office of minority health and health disparities encourages and supports research for improving health of people affected by health disparities.
- Education, Training, and Outreach Programs
These help enlarge the knowledge-base of research on minority health disparities via various ways like education and research partnerships, training programs, and outreach projects.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its weekly report on health disparities and inequalities in the United States that provides analysis of latest trends and ongoing variations in health disparities and inequalities for chosen social and health indicators.
The data, according the report, is crucial for cultivating action and accountability to reduce modifiable disparities by using effective and scalable interventions.
CDC and its partners can use the data to raise awareness on which groups are most vulnerable and can motivate more efforts to intervene at the state, tribal, and local levels.
Have you or someone you know ever participated in a community-based program of NIMHD that aims to deal with minority health and health disparities? If yes, share your or your acquaintance’s experience in the comments section below. You can also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads to keep the conversation going.
Donald “Spiderman” Thomas is a 3 times Guinness record holder motivational speaker, fitness and healthy aging advocate.
To bring attention to minority health disparities he has broken his Guinness records in Harlem, New York and The Big Island of Hawaii
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. “Programs.” Accessed May 16, 2018. https://www.nimhd.nih.gov/programs/.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017. “Health Equity.” Accessed May 16, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/minorityhealth/index.html.