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Let’s Eliminate Health Disparities

Categories: Home & Recreational Safety

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.

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. December 9, 2009 at 4:11 pm ET  -   Julie Eley

    Hi Dr. Arias:

    Thank you so much for your post about this. I totally agree. Although I’m not an expert on the injury side, I’ve learned through research for my personal health blog to help people be healthier Naturally, that these broader issues HAVE to be addressed. On the personal side, my 82 year old mother and I both live in rural areas, and it’s Essential that access to services are provided for the elderly, those with disabilities or pre-existing conditions like myself, and those in unfortunate financial situations like many of us today.

    I think it’s a sin that these people are basically discriminated against based on age, ethnicity, financial means or health status. I’ve contacted whoever I can to help make our voice heard, including the President’s website. I appreciate your role in ensuring the health and safety of all of us, and ask you as well to help us shed light on the millions of us that are unable to pay current healthcare premiums, or are denied due to pre-existing medical conditions, many of which are injury related and through no fault of our own.

    I thank you for stating 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. We don’t have to accept these outcomes, and we Shouldn’t! We have to take a stand, but we can’t do it alone. There are way too many people falling through the cracks of the system, including my mother who lives on Social Security and can’t even afford her own place let alone Medicare or other health insurance. This is an abomination to me. Behavior changes do also need to take place, but the people need the government’s, industry’s, and corporate’s assistance to improve it.

    Thank you very much for your article. It’s very encouraging to the citizens that someone in an organization like the CDC understands the real issues, and has the same view as millions of Americans. It’s refreshing and very uplifting. Thank you so much again.

    Julie Eley

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