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Native American Heritage Month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories, and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native Americans. It provides an opportunity to educate all Americans about American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Tribes, to raise awareness about the unique challenges Native communities have faced historically and continue to face today, and the ways in which Tribal leaders and members have worked to conquer these challenges.
Fresh winds of transformation are rolling across the expanse of this nation. In American Indian traditional stories, wind is a power larger than life itself throughout the history of the First Americans. During this Native American Heritage Month, we look to the winds of change that are transforming adversity into hope and empowering American Indians and Alaska Natives to live longer, healthier lives.
Every October, our nation is awash in a sea of pink. Everywhere we look we see pink as a reminder of survival and that our fight against breast cancer is not over yet. In my family, as in other families impacted by this disease, it is a reminder of perseverance and of our ability to press on until we find a cure.
When Maria Schinstock’s father was diagnosed with diabetes, she asked him to move closer to her so she could help him manage his condition and day-to-day activities. He eventually moved closer to Maria, but by that time his diabetes was in an advanced stage. Taking care of her terminally ill father made her more aware of the lack of information and support patients with chronic illnesses received in her community. This awareness also influenced her work as a promotora de salud, or community health worker.
Achieving a nation free of disparities in health and health care extends beyond the walls of federal offices. As we deepen our reach into this current era of public health, we step into an age of a greater understanding of the factors upon which better health is built—the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live and age. This knowledge underscores our goal in building stronger relationships and alliances that achieve better health outcomes for all communities by bolstering the efforts of our partners.
Every day, more than 75 people in our country die from a prescription drug or heroin overdose. In 2013, nearly 249 million prescriptions were written for opioids—enough for every adult in America to have a bottle of pills. A significant factor in the opioid epidemic is legally written prescriptions from doctors, dentists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
At the heart of the Caribbean-American community is a sentiment to never forget your roots. A new life filled with opportunity greets many who journey to the mainland United States, but they never forget those whom they love and cherish back in their homeland. This is a sentiment that I, as the daughter of Haitian immigrants, reflect on during this Caribbean American Heritage Month.
As a former track and field sprinter, I still remember and admire my high school track coach whom we affectionately call “Mr. Z.” He helped me to experience some of sports’ great life lessons — leadership, teamwork, and perseverance — and a love of being fit and healthy. This June, sports fans have been served up a buffet of major events that exemplify all of these lessons: the NBA Finals rematch, the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Centennial Copa America, the French Open, the U.S. Open golf championships, and of course, the NCAA Track and Field Championships.
In many families, there comes a time when our parents are no longer be able to care for themselves independently and require assistance to handle their daily activities. In several cultures, including Asian heritage, caring for aging parents is a rite of passage. For many individuals of Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander descent, respecting and caring for one's parents, also referred to as filial piety, is an important family value that extends across many cultures and generations.
The work of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health is rooted in a resounding call sounded more than thirty years ago to address the racial and ethnic health disparities that plague our nation. It was then, in Health, United States 1983 (the annual report card on the nation’s health) that then HHS Secretary Margaret M. Heckler took note of significant disparities that existed between non-Hispanic whites and racial and ethnic minorities despite evidence that showed improvements in the health and longevity of all Americans.
During National Reentry Week, April 24-30, 2016, our nation will focus on the future of individuals who are returning to communities after serving time in federal and state prisons and local jails. This focus will extend across many sectors – employment, education, housing, criminal justice, and transportation – all of which impact health. And all Americans, including those who have been formerly incarcerated and have paid their debt to society, should have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
In just a matter of weeks, proud parents, family, and friends in every corner of the nation will gather to watch their high school seniors graduate. Predictable warm weather and speeches that may run a bit too long will be of little note as an estimated3.3 million young women and men earn their diplomas and embark upon their future pursuits.
We invite all communities to learn more about National Minority Health Month, and resources to help promote this observance and events in your community
National Minority Health Month video message from J. Nadine Gracia, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
America is often described as the land of opportunity because of the untold possibilities that await those who seek its treasures. Women’s History Month in March is an opportune time for all women to awaken and pursue their highest potential. And there are great examples that line the path of our nation’s history, from a woman who discovered a new medical breakthrough to one who motivated a classroom of students to press on toward success, to the mother who worked tirelessly to care for her family.
Black History Month is a time to celebrate the many black Americans who have made an impact on our nation. It’s a reminder of how far we have come as a country, and a call for the work still ahead.
Here at HHS, we’re working on a number of initiatives to advance health equity and bridge the gaps in health and well-being that still are too prevalent for the black community.
Five years have passed since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and I continue to be inspired by the #GetCovered stories from across America. It is amazing to hear about men, women and young adults in this country who have been empowered—many for the first time—to take the reins and become more active partners in their health care and the health care of their families.
Five years ago, the Affordable Care Act created a remarkable opportunity in the movement to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity. In
addition to expanding access to quality, affordable coverage for millions of uninsured Americans, it provided the foundation for the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
(HHS Disparities Action Plan)
—the most comprehensive federal commitment to addressing health disparities.
Tucked away in central Wyoming you will find the Wind River Indian Reservation—home to the Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapaho tribes, and home to a spirit of perseverance and self-determination that permeates America. While we celebrate the rich traditions of our nation’s indigenous people during National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, we cannot forget the fateful history that is imprinted on Indian Country. With this history in mind, we can work to create a brighter and healthier future for American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Discrimination exacerbates health and health care disparities for communities of color. Inequity results in lack of access to quality, affordable care and
can lead to prolonged and unnecessary illness. This is especially true for people with a mental illness or substance use disorder. During July, National
Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, we shine a light on the discrimination that minorities often experience when living with a mental health condition,
and learn how we can prevent it.
As a first-generation Caribbean American, I often draw inspiration from my greatest role models — my parents.
The essence of diversity is brilliantly reflected across the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community.
As the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants from Haiti, I have a deep respect for the rich traditions of the generations that preceded me. My family’s elder women – especially my late maternal grandmother and my mother – have been great matriarchs and their lessons are too important to forget.
At a commemorative event two years ago, I heard a historian say that history is not a steady stream of events, but rather a series of punctuation points, like ripples from stones tossed into water.
During my pediatrics training in Pittsburgh, PA, I provided care to the young people—many of them boys and young men of color—at the juvenile detention center.
As we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we can also commemorate a significant milestone on our journey toward health equity.
Violence is one of the most urgent public health problems we face in America. Its tragic consequences run deep and have an especially profound impact on
minority youth and young minority men.
Across the country, communities of color are mobilizing for a stronger, healthier future, and advancing health equity for all by tackling one of the most
significant drivers of disparities in health – access to insurance coverage. At the center of that movement are the many organizations and advocates
working tirelessly to connect minority individuals and their families with opportunities to attain affordable health coverage made possible by the
Affordable Care Act.