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House Approves Minority Health Month Resolution

On April 30, the House approved, by voice vote, a resolution (H. Con. Res. 388) that supports the establishment of a National Minority Health and Health Disparities Month. Sponsored by Del. Donna Christensen (D-VI), the resolution states that such a month “should be established to promote educational efforts on the health problems currently facing minorities and other health disparity populations” in the areas of infant mortality, cancer screening, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and immunizations.

Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) noted that, “Raising awareness of existing health disparities is necessary to improving the overall health and well-being of the American people.” Agreeing with Rep. Bilirakis, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) said, “These disparities in treatment exist even when insurance status, income, age, and severity of conditions in minorities and whites are the same.” She added, “The good news is that we can address this problem by educating the public and the medical community about these disparities and take action to reduce them.” The resolution would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop public service announcements on health promotion and disease prevention. In addition, health care professionals would be provided with information on “factors associated with health care utilization and access, patient attitudes toward health services, and risk and protective behaviors that affect health and illness…so that they may better communicate with all patients, regardless of race or ethnicity, without bias or prejudice.”

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