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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: April 21, 2014


DOVER, DE (April 17, 2014) -- Prevention is power. With that focus, Delaware's Division of Public Health recognizes April as Minority Health Month and emphasizes the critical role of prevention in reducing health disparities. The month serves as a call to action, a charge for all of us to unite towards a common goal of improving the health of our communities.

Racial and ethnic minorities still lag behind the general population on many health fronts, despite the progress our nation has made over the past 50 years. Minorities are less likely to get the preventive care they need to stay healthy, more likely to suffer from serious illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer, and they are less likely to have access to quality health care.

Everyone in America should have the chance to live a healthy life, regardless of who they are and where they live. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2010, Delaware's overall mortality rate was highest in non-Hispanic blacks at 883.1 per 100,000 (1.2 times that of non-Hispanic whites). This included a cancer mortality rate of 202.9 (1.2 times that of non-Hispanic whites), a stroke-related mortality rate of 59.4 (1.6 times that of non-Hispanic whites), and a diabetes-related mortality rate of 126.4 (1.9 times that of non-Hispanic whites). Most of the deaths were from potentially preventable causes.

DPH's Bureau of Health Equity was established to help ensure everyone in Delaware can achieve their full health potential by eliminating differences in health outcomes due to social determinants, which are the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work, and age, as well as the systems put in place to deal with illness. These circumstances are in turn shaped by a wider set of forces: economics, social policies, and politics. In 2013, the bureau conducted the first in a series of state-wide Health Equity Partners Workshops developed to allow partners to share initiatives, accomplishments, challenges, and plans in order to combine efforts without unnecessary overlap.

The Affordable Care Act also addresses the needs of minority populations and other underserved groups by bringing down health care costs, investing in prevention, and supporting improvements in primary care and Medicare. As a result of the health care law, we are making strides in giving every American, regardless of race or ethnicity, a fair shot at quality, affordable health coverage. Many Americans can now get such key preventive services as mammograms, cancer screenings and flu vaccinations with no co-pay or deductible, a significant barrier in the past to many in minority communities.

Visit http://www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/NMHM14/templates/events.aspx to learn more about National Minority Health Month and what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is doing to reduce minority health disparities and achieve health equity.

For more statistics on heath disparities, go to http://www.healthstatus2020.com/disparities/ChartBookData_list.asp.

DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day; have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming); get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day; and drink almost no sugary beverages.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.