Earlier this month, Americans made history when they elected an African-American as President of the United States. For many children, Barack Obama’s election brings truth to the statement, “You can be anything you want to be, even president of the United States.”
The election outcome makes me wonder: When will we be able to tell all children that they have the same chance for a healthy life as any other child in the United States? When will that be true?
CDC has a primary role in ensuring the health and safety of all Americans. CDC Injury Center data show that injuries – a leading cause of death for Americans – happen more frequently for some groups of people. Children experience significantly different rates of injury death depending on their race and ethnicity. Recently, a CDC Injury Center study called attention to injury and violence disparities among children and adolescents.
Children don’t outgrow these statistics; health disparities for adults exist between different genders, ethnicities, income and education levels, geographic locations, and more.
I believe that it’s unacceptable for children and adults to have a greater risk of fatal injury because of their ethnicity, where they live, or other factors beyond their control. I hope you agree with me. Because the good news is that we don’t have to accept these outcomes.
The Injury Center has partnered with numerous organizations – from Native American nations to Meals on Wheels in rural Texas – to implement proven injury prevention strategies in communities that focus on groups more vulnerable to injury.
These initiatives are a great beginning toward changing behavior and reducing injuries. Yet to achieve real success in eliminating health disparities, we also must address broader issues, from expanding access to services for all people to promoting greater minority representation within the healthcare workforce.
Join us in wiping out health disparities in America! Become informed, talk with your community leaders, and let’s work together to offer the real promise of a healthy life to all of our children and adults. Contact me for ideas on how you can help change outcomes in your community.