Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

Conversations in Equity

A blog devoted to increasing awareness of health inequities and promoting national, state, and local efforts to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity.

Share
Compartir

Reflections, Revisions, Renewals

Categories: Health Equity

reflect

It is customary at the end of each year to pause and celebrate achievements, ponder lessons learned, and renew commitments to do more, even better. Having marked our accomplishments, we look to the new year with anticipation and new aspirations. As we begin 2013, I want to reflect briefly on progress in the national agenda to improve minority health and reduce health disparities, share some shifts in our thinking, and greet the new year invigorated and ready for the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Since the publication of the 1985 Secretary’s Task Force Report on Black and Minority Health, the federal government has revised and renewed our efforts to reduce health disparities through the National Partnership for Action (NPA); the National Prevention Strategy; Healthy People 2020; and provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, to name a few. Along with increasing access to quality health care, these national initiatives represent a strategic revision in the national agenda to shift our attention from “excess deaths” highlighted in the 1985 report to the social and physical environments – broadly understood, that help shape health outcomes.

Strategy

Last year, CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity established five priority goals, one of which is to “reframe eliminating health disparities as achievable.” In this reframing, we are exploring ways to modify and expand how health disparities have historically been documented, explained, and addressed. In the field of public health, minority health is principally examined through the lens of epidemiology – the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events in specified populations. In the case of minority health, this study is primarily applied to the prevention and control of health problems. Descriptive epidemiological studies are sometimes reported as point-in-time snapshots and others reflect trends over time. What could be more fully described in reports of these studies are the historical events and social conditions that contextualize health outcomes.

slavery

For example, health disparities between African Americans and whites in the U.S. are well documented back to the 15th and 16th century slave trade of Africans in the U.S. and North America; continuing through different historical landmarks of the antebellum period of slavery in the South; the post-Civil War and Reconstruction eras; post-Reconstruction and the span of “Jim Crow,” and persisting through the Civil Rights era; and more recent “Black liberation” and “Black Power” movements of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. [Source: Byrd, WM and Clayton, LA. An American Health Dilemma. (2000)]. Revisiting the history of minority populations in the U.S. and how these events impact health are important in our reflections, revisions, and renewals as we plan for the future.

Social Determinants

Nationally and at CDC, there has been considerable progress over the past several years in attending to the social determinants of health. With this attention comes the necessity to work with data outside of the public health and health care domains (e.g., education, employment, social services); to champion innovative and rigorous surveillance and evaluation methods that capture the impact on health of programs addressing social determinants, regardless of the sector (e.g., health, housing, justice) in which programs reside; and to increase awareness within the larger population of the relationship between health outcomes and a host of social factors.

direction

Moving forward, we will focus as much on reporting solutions as we do in describing the problem. We will work with partners to catalyze a dual strategy that mobilizes both affected community members and the institutions and sectors that shape opportunities for health. We will refine our understanding of minority health as distinct from conventional descriptions of the burden of disease experienced by minority communities.

Dietician praising patient accomplishments

As social norms are changing toward healthy living, we must be sensitive to those who feel guilt and frustration when they are not meeting the new cultural expectations such as maintaining an ideal body weight or prescribed exercise regimen. There are small successes such as having a blood pressure check or eating more fruits and vegetables we can and should celebrate. In the new year, we will consider how the language we use to talk about minority health may motivate or discourage people from caring for their own personal health.

As we begin the New Year, it is worth reiterating that health disparities are a societal issue and not just the burden of selected populations. In the years ahead, we must identify ways to quantify and communicate to all of our society the benefits to everyone in eliminating preventable health disparities and achieving health equity.

What are your reflections, revisions, and renewals to help eliminate health disparities in 2013?

Public Comments

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this blog is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

  1. January 21, 2013 at 6:22 pm ET  -   Anonymous

    An attention-grabbing dialogue. I think that you must write extra on this subject. To the next. Cheers

    Link to this comment

  2. January 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm ET  -   Anonymous

    Hi, just wanted to say i liked this article. it was practical. keep on posting.

    Link to this comment

  3. January 22, 2013 at 2:52 pm ET  -   Anonymous

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. Iwill be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I will certainly return.

    Link to this comment

  4. January 24, 2013 at 1:21 am ET  -   Anonymous

    I and also my friends came looking at the good thoughts found on the website. I respect the blog owner. My boys were definitely excited to read the posts. Thank you for being considerably thoughtful and for using certain exceptional ideas most people are really wanting to learn about.

    Link to this comment

  5. January 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm ET  -   Anonymous

    I like your blog. Your articles are interesting. I got here by mistake and I started reading. I became interested in the topic and I am thinking to use your words on my paper, of course with the quotation. Thanks very much.

    Link to this comment

  6. January 25, 2013 at 11:59 am ET  -   Anonymous

    Significantl in terms of this matter, made me individually believe it from numerous varied angles. Your personal stuff is great.

    Link to this comment

  7. June 13, 2013 at 5:21 pm ET  -   Anonymous

    I have read this post and suggest some advice; write your next article on this same topic as I desire to read more about it!

    Link to this comment

  8. June 13, 2013 at 6:35 pm ET  -   Esmerelda Sullinger

    Thank you for the sensible critique. I was doing research on this and learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such excellent info being shared.

    Link to this comment

  9. June 18, 2013 at 12:43 am ET  -   Benjamin Seyler

    Great post. I was checking this blog and I am impressed! Very helpful information, specially the last part :) Thank you and best of luck.

    Link to this comment

  10. July 8, 2013 at 4:32 am ET  -   Anonymous

    I have been browsing online and discovered no other interesting articles like yours. In my view, if all bloggers made content as good as yours, the internet would be a lot more helpful.

    Link to this comment

  11. May 30, 2014 at 8:01 am ET  -   Anonymous

    Nice post. I discover something on various blogs everyday. Thank you for sharing.

    Link to this comment

  12. May 30, 2014 at 8:34 am ET  -   Anonymous

    You produced some decent points there.

    Link to this comment

  13. May 30, 2014 at 8:59 am ET  -   Anonymous

    I found your article very thought provoking. The way it was written made me look at things from a different angle and think about what I originally thought :-) I will definitely be back again.

    Link to this comment

  14. June 22, 2014 at 3:18 pm ET  -   Anonymous

    Excellent post. I was checking this blog and I am inspired! Extremely useful info :) Thank you.

    Link to this comment

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

All comments posted become a part of the public domain, and users are responsible for their comments. This is a moderated blog and your comments will be reviewed before they are posted. Read more about our comment policy »

 

Blog Categories

Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    (800-232-4636)
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
  • Contact CDC–INFO
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
A-Z Index
  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #