National Minority Health Month is observed the entire month of April. It is an inclusive initiative that targets the health needs of African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, and other minorities. It builds awareness regarding the unequal burden of preventable death and sickness in these groups. It also promotes action through health education and early management of disease complications. In a multicultural society such as the U.S., access to healthcare for everyone is paramount for the country’s continued progress.
History of National Minority Health Month
The health and well-being of minorities are not just a modern-day concern. It had its roots many years ago when Booker T. Washington established the National Negro Health Week. Born on a slave plantation, he rose to become a leading African American educator. Washington believed that the key to the progress of African Americans was rooted in the connection between poverty and poor health. He advocated for economic progress not just through education but through improved living conditions that included better sanitation as well as access to healthcare.
In recent times, this has evolved into what is now known as National Minority Health Month. Launched by the National Minority Health Month Foundation, it strives to lessen the health disparities experienced by minorities in the U.S. Health disparities are the imbalance in the quality of health and health care experienced by groups based on their environmental condition, and their social, racial, ethnic, and economic status. These are often caused by inequalities based on income, as a poor person might not be able to seek the same medical care as someone with a higher income. Discrimination also contributes to this by prioritizing one group over another. The environment plays a part as well; people can’t eat healthy food if they have no access to it.
Now more than ever, minorities make up a huge part of the U.S. population. Taking their need to access proper health care seriously ensures that they can contribute not just to economic growth, but enrich the country with their cultural contributions as well.
National Minority Health Month timeline
He grows up to be a teacher and an influential spokesman for Black Americans.
Its proponent, Booker T. Washington believes that improvement in the way of life for African Americans lies not just in education but also in access to better health.
This is in response to the National Minority Health Month Foundation to “Healthy People 2010,” the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ health and disease promotion initiative.
The U.S. Congress lends its support to National Minority Health Month.
National Minority Health Month FAQs
Why is National Minority Health Month important?
It is vital to improve the health of racial and ethnic minorities and reduce health disparities.
What is health equity?
Health equity is the absence of unfair and avoidable differences in health among population groups.
How is health equity achieved?
It is when everyone is given an equal chance to attain the highest possible standard of health.
How to Observe National Minority Health Month
Walk to boost your health
Need to run an errand close by? Ditch the car and walk. You not only reduce pollution, but you are also getting your heart pumping and those feet stepping towards better health.
Set goals to adopt healthy living
It can be as simple as drinking more water, sleeping early, or adding more fruit and vegetables to your diet. Take this opportunity to add one healthy habit to your daily life and stick with it. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did.
Move your community
Get the neighborhood ladies together for a jog or an outdoor Zumba dance class. Host an active playdate for the kids at the playground or local pool. Organize a group run or bike route every weekend. Participating in group physical activities is more fun—and can add to your motivation!
5 Fast Facts About Booker T. Washington
His middle name was Italian
The ‘T’ stands for Taliaferro, which in Italian means ‘iron-cutter.’
He had to clean to enter college
Hampton Institute school principal Miss Mackie asked him to clean a recitation room before he was admitted.
He had a great sense of humor
Honed by years of public speaking, he could not only tell a good joke but was prone to one-liners that ironically used racial stereotypes that would be deemed inappropriate today.
He hated his first autobiography
Writer Edgar Webber collaborated with him on “The Story of My Life and Work,” but Washington thought it was poorly written so he wrote “Up from Slavery” with Max Thrasher the year after.
He spent years making rich friends
Due to his commitment to improving African American education plus his knack for fundraising, he was able to receive personal contributions from wealthy friends like J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller.
Why National Minority Health Month is Important
It champions equality
Everyone deserves equal access to good health and medical care. This is regardless of a person’s race or gender, or social standing.
It focuses on groups not just individuals
It aims to provide programs that improve health standards for everyone. While individuals benefit from these programs, we like the focus on groups.
Healthy communities build a healthy nation
When communities are healthy, they can live and work better. This will lead to economic growth which is good for the entire country.
National Minority Health Month dates