March 29, 2022
April is National Minority Health Month
MOBILE, Ala. — April is National Minority Health Month. As noted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health (OMH), the time is set aside to highlight the importance of improving the health of racial and ethnic minorities and reducing health disparities.
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson and the Mobile City Council recognized the importance of this mission today by presenting a resolution to the Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) in observance of National Minority Health Month.
Accepting the honor was MCHD’s Health Equity Office team (HEO) comprised of Melissa McKnight, Skandan Ananthasekar, Sherita Anderson, and Sequayah Chaney; Dr. Stephanie Woods-Crawford, Executive Director of Prevention & Wellness; and Pebbles King, who oversees the Bureau of Community and Nutrition Services.
“I want to offer my sincere thanks on behalf of the MCHD Health Equity Office to the Mayor Stimpson and the Mobile City Council for proclaiming April as National Minority Health Month,” said Ms. McKnight, who leads the HEO team. “We know that communities of color experience significant disparities in health, and we also know that these disparities in diabetes, heart disease, COVID-19, and more are not because of race or ethnicity.
“These disparities exist because of the social inequities caused by systemic racial injustices. We thank the Mayor and City Council for passing this proclamation in efforts to move this important work forward. We look forward to having continued conversations with city leaders, stakeholders, and our community.”
The theme for 2022 is “Give Your Community a Boost!” This year’s theme focuses on the continued importance of COVID-19 vaccination, including boosters, as one of the strongest tools we have to end the COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately affected communities of color. This theme supplements the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to prevent COVID-19 transmissions, such as physical distancing, use of well-fitting masks, adequate ventilation, and avoidance of crowded indoor spaces.
Experiences with racism and discrimination can contribute to mistrust of the healthcare system among racial and ethnic minority groups, leading to mistrust of factual information on vaccines and boosters. Because of this, the “Give Your Community a Boost!” theme also supports the U.S. Surgeon General’s recommendations on combating COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation at the individual, community, and organizational levels.
According to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the origin of National Minority Health Month is in the 1915 establishment of National Negro Health Week by Booker T. Washington. In 2002, National Minority Health Month received support from the U.S. Congress with a concurrent resolution that “a National Minority Health and Health Disparities Month should be established to promote educational efforts on the health problems currently facing minorities and other health disparity populations.” The resolution encouraged “all health organizations and Americans to conduct appropriate programs and activities to promote healthfulness in minority and other health disparity communities.”
MCHD established a leadership-level Health Equity Office in 2021 to address health disparities in Mobile County. Funding came from the National Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities Among Populations at High-Risk and Underserved, Including Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations and Rural Communities.
The HEO team is responsible for evaluating internal and external programs and policies, identifying weaknesses, and laying a foundation for serving vulnerable communities through a health equity lens.
* This media product was supported by funds made available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, under 1 NH75OT000104-01-00. The content of this media product is that of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official position of or endorsement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.