National Minority Health Month is recognized annually during the month of April to highlight the importance of advancing health equity and improving health outcomes for Black, Indigenous, and communities of color. This year’s theme is Give Your Community a Boost – to highlight the continued importance of COVID-19 vaccination, including boosters, as one of the strongest tools we can use to end the pandemic.
Located in every corner of the state, community health centers (CHCs) have been serving Black, Indigenous, and communities of color that have historically been failed by the traditional health care system – the very same communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among CHC patients, 68% are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color, 28% speak limited or no English, 13% are uninsured, and 4% are unhoused. Due to the pervasive structural inequities that CHC patients regularly encounter, they are at the highest risk for severe negative health consequences resulting, not only from COVID-19, but also from a lack of access to health care and social support services.
Community health centers understand that trust and relationships are critically important elements in addressing health issues, especially in Black, Indigenous, and communities of color who have a long history and good reason to distrust traditional health care systems. That is why CHCs are community-run, with over 50% of Board members comprised of patients served by the health center. And why CHCs hire staff from the very communities they serve – some providers, nonclinical staff, and patients patronize the same grocery stores, have children who attend the same school, and ride the same transit lines. Communities trust organizations with staff who look like them and understand their concerns. This trust has allowed CHCs to conduct hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 tests, provide patients and community members with COVID-19 vaccination and treatment, and educate patients and communities on COVID-19 vaccine safety and dispel vaccine misinformation.
Together we can end the pandemic. CHCANYS, and the community health centers we represent, will continue to educate patients and communities on COVID-19 vaccine safety and ensure that all New Yorkers will have access to COVID-19 vaccines whenever and wherever they want it.
Check out these resources to learn more about National Minority Health Month and how you can get involved:
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health: The mission of the Office of Minority Health is to improve the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help eliminate health disparities. Check out their National Minority Health Month social media toolkit.
- CDC Office of Minority Health & Health Equity: CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity advances health equity and women’s health issues across the nation through CDC’s science and programs. OMHHE also increases CDC’s capacity to leverage its diverse workforce and engage stakeholders to this end. Join the CDC in promoting National Minority Health Month: Give Your Community A Boost.
- Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI): PCORI helps people make informed healthcare decisions, and improves healthcare delivery and outcomes, by producing and promoting high-integrity, evidence-based information that comes from research guided by patients, caregivers, and the broader healthcare community. Check out PCORI’s collection of studies and projects for National Minority Health Month.