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Acting HHS Assistant Secretary for Health: Statement on National Minority Health Month

Contact: OASH Press Office
202-205-0143
ashmedia@hhs.gov

This April, as a nation we commemorate National Minority Health Month with a focus on how we are working to accelerate health equity for the nation.

During National Minority Health Month 2016, we will mark the 30th anniversary of the HHS Office of Minority Health to highlight Administration and HHS efforts that are changing our nation and closing the gap in health disparities. For three decades, the HHS Office of Minority Health has provided critical leadership in improving the health of racial and ethnic minority populations that continues to touch every corner of this great country.

Across the nation, we have made unprecedented strides in strengthening the health care and well-being of all Americans. Our progress is clear. Life expectancy gaps are narrowing, and Americans, including racial and ethnic minorities, are living longer than ever before. The security of health insurance coverage has been extended to millions of individuals. Since the law was passed, partners and advocates across the country have helped the Affordable Care Act bring health care coverage to 20 million Americans, including millions of people of color. For non-Hispanic Blacks, the uninsured rate dropped by more than 50 percent, and the rate dropped by more than 25 percent among Hispanics, ensuring that more Americans have access to quality, affordable health care. This law also created Offices of Minority Health across HHS to strengthen department-wide efforts.

Amidst this great progress, however, racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care persist across many communities. Minority communities still continue to suffer higher rates of serious health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. But I remain confident that together we can continue to transform health and our health care system to move closer to achieving health equity for every community.

President Obama, just before he signed the Affordable Care Act into law, said: “That our generation is able to succeed in passing this reform is a testament to the persistence – and the character – of the American people, who championed this cause; who mobilized; who organized; who believed that people who love this country can change it.”

As a Department, we will strengthen our commitment in working with our partners to continue accelerating momentum toward a nation free of disparities in health and health care. Let us continue to honor the work of the committed individuals who have worked tirelessly for decades to end health disparities by refusing to rest until health equity is realized in all communities across this great nation.

For more information about National Minority Health Month, visit http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/NMHM16.