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Congressional Alliance to Tackle Minority Health Disparities

Congressional Alliance to Tackle Minority Health Disparities

In collaboration with Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. Speaker of the House and founder of the Center for Health Transformation, and Peter Deutsch, former U.S. Representative from Florida, the National Minority Health Month Foundation (NMHMF) announced the formation of the Congressional Leadership Alliance to       Eliminate Health Disparities.

“This Congressional Leadership Alliance is a pioneering, bipartisan initiative which will bring new resources to Congressional districts to support their efforts to eliminate minority health disparities,” says Dr. Gary Puckrein, executive director, NMHMF. “Launching this program is an important first step in our campaign to improve health outcomes in communities through innovation and cooperation.”

The Congressional Leadership Alliance will use research and timely data to quantify and identify the prevalence of chronic illnesses that disproportionately affect Hispanics and Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans, American Indians and Pacific Islanders in targeted Congressional districts in order to make critical recommendations for forward-thinking results.

“Working collaboratively, we can bring about a healthier America by closing the ‘health gap’ in minority communities,” says Gingrich. “I applaud the work of the Foundation and their vision in bringing together the stakeholders to tackle this important issue.”

The dramatic differences in health status and health outcomes among minority populations can be attributed to a variety of factors, including lack of access to quality medical care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

• HIV prevalence in African-American women is 24 times that of White women, and African-American men are eight times as likely as their White counterparts to be diagnosed with the disease.

• Latinos, American Indians, African Americans and certain Asian Pacific Islander groups all have rates of diabetes far exceeding Caucasians.

• African Americans between the ages of 45 and 64 are 2.5 times more likely to die from heart failure than Caucasians in the same age range.

• Minorities bear a greater disease burden associated with mental health disorders, with American Indians and Alaskan Natives suffering from unusually high rates of suicide.

“As a former member of Congress, I know how important it is to build awareness of the health issues facing Congressional districts,” says Deutsch. “This initiative is about partnering with Congress and the community to bring about positive change to improve the health status of constituents.” Deutsch has been a leader in consumer healthcare issues for nearly 25 years.

The Congressional Leadership Alliance to Eliminate Health Disparities will convene at the Foundation’s 2nd Annual National Health Disparities Summit on April 26-27 in Washington. The Alliance will work to identify key Congressional districts and design a systematic framework to bring about evidence-based solutions. For more information, contact Cleve Mesidor at (202) 223-7560 or via e-mail at [email protected].

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