Did you know that your zip code can be a predictor of your health? Along with your income and education level, where you are born, grow, live, work, play, learn, and age determines your quality of health. The choices you make each day about what to eat, when to work out and whether or not to see a doctor are important. The condition of your surroundings, or the social determinants of health, is the other part of the foundation upon which better health is built. However, many Americans, particularly racial and ethnic minority populations, are significantly impacted by the social determinants of health and the resulting disparities, or inequities, in health and health care.
Each April during National Minority Health Month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) raises awareness about health disparities, their causes and the impact they have on minority communities and on the nation as whole. This year, the HHS OMH is proud to join its partners in communities throughout the country as we build bridges to help end disparities in health and health care. Bridging health equity across communities extends beyond public health—it focuses attention on the indirect social and economic conditions in which we live. By addressing the social determinants of health and working together across sectors, we can help eliminate health disparities and advance health equity for everyone.
National Minority Health Month 2017 is focused on access to transportation that makes it possible to get to a well visit; neighborhoods where it is possible to exercise or play outdoors; and accessible grocery stores that make it possible to eat a well-balanced diet. Through collaboration with those who lead efforts to improve education, the safety of our neighborhoods, and other aspects of our communities, we can improve living conditions and help individuals live longer and healthier lives.