Celebrating National Minority Health Month Together
Every year since 2002, the United States (US) has recognized and celebrated National Minority Health Month throughout the month of April. Inspired by Booker T. Washington’s 1915 establishment of Negro Health Week, National Minority Health Month is a time to raise awareness about health disparities among racial and ethnic minority populations. Throughout the observance month, public health practitioners strive to:
- Increase awareness of inequalities in premature morbidity and mortality rates among racial or ethnic minorities.
- Motivate action through the early detection, education and control of diseases.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected people of color in both incidence and mortality rates. This inequity brought to light various disproportionate rates of underlying conditions, such as obesity and diabetes, that worsen COVID-19 outcomes. Many of these comorbidities express disparate disease burdens due to unequal access to care, treatment and prevention. Therefore, tailoring public health resources toward preventing chronic and infectious diseases that may worsen COVID-19 outcomes is of utmost importance.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health (OMH) and its partners tailored this year’s National Minority Health Month celebrations toward COVID-19-associated disparities. This 2022 National Minority Healthy Month theme is Give Your Community a Boost—a nod to advocating for COVID-19 vaccination and booster shots, alongside other Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations like physical distancing and handwashing. Although vaccinations and boosters are important steps to curb the spread of the virus, there are apparent disparities in vaccine uptake among racial or ethnic minority groups. Vaccine equity is paramount for improving health outcomes.
The 2022 National Minority Health Month theme invites all people to help turn the tide of this disease in their communities. Two concrete ways to tackle COVID-19 include: (1) debunking myths and (2) sharing reliable public health resources to encourage family and friends to get fully vaccinated.
Engaging in interactive activities like the OMH’s Health & Wellness Campaign and Minority Health Bingo Challenge are other ways to increase one’s awareness of racial and ethnic minority health disparities. The CDC and the North Dakota Department of Health provide comprehensive resources and toolkits that answer central questions about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
Improving public health and eliminating health inequities are achievable when done hand-in-hand. During the month of April—and in the coming months—let’s tackle COVID-19 disparities together in the active advancement of minority health.
Read more about minority health: minorityhealth.hhs.gov/nmhm/