Bridging Health Equity Across Communities

Are you aware that your zip code can be a predictor of your health? It’s not just your  your income and education level, but where you are born, grow, live, work, play, learn, and age determines your quality of health. The choices we make each day  – what to eat, when to work out and whether or not to see a doctor – are important. The social determinants of health, or your surroundings is the other part of the foundation upon which better health is built. Many Americans, particularly racial and ethnic minority populations, are significantly impacted by the social determinants of health and the resulting disparities, or inequities, in health and health care.

Each April the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) raises awareness about health disparities, their causes and the impact they have on minority communities and on the nation as whole as part of National Minority Health Awareness Month. This year, the HHS OMH  joins its partners in communities throughout the country, building bridges to help end disparities in health and health care.

Bridging health equity across communities goes far beyond public health—it focuses attention on the indirect social and economic conditions in which people live. By addressing the social determinants of health and working together across sectors, everyone can help eliminate health disparities and advance health equity for everyone, which means better health for all of us.

National Minority Health Month 2017 focuses on access to transportation that makes it possible to get to a doctors appointments and health screenings; neighborhoods and communities where it is possible to exercise or play outdoors; and accessible grocery stores that make it possible to eat a healthy diet. Through collaboration with those who lead efforts to improve education, the safety of our neighborhoods, and other aspects of our communities, we can improve living conditions and help individuals live longer and healthier lives.

To learn more about efforts to create healthier communities, visit the National Minority Health Month website and sign up for OMH email updates.  Groups like the Women Survivors Alliance and some of those our Unconditionally Her readers are involved in all can make a difference.  You can also share information on your events and follow activities throughout the month via @minorityhealth, the HHS OMH Twitter account.