MDCH Highlights Focus on Health Risks of Minority Populations in Michigan

Contact: Jennifer Smith 517-241-2112

For Immediate Release: April 9, 2015

LANSING, Mich. As April is National Minority Health Month, and the week of April 5-11 is National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is encouraging residents to take preventive measures by talking to their doctor about their health risks, including cancer screenings, to address the health disparities that persist among racial and ethnic minorities.

Health disparities continue to exist in Michigan and the United States. Nearly one in four Hispanic adults in Michigan report having no health care coverage, and 26 percent reported not seeing the doctor within the past 12 months due to cost, compared to 15.1 percent of all Michigan adults. Additionally, studies show that African Americans have a higher fatality rate from cancer than people of any other racial or ethnic group.

“It’s vital that all residents speak with their doctor about their specific health risks, including cancer screenings,” said Dr. Matthew Davis, Chief Medical Executive for the MDCH. “Health disparities continue to exist in minority populations. To begin to address these, I encourage all residents to speak with your family about any family history of disease or cancer and check with you physician about appropriate testing.”

With preventive services such as cancer testing now covered under most insurance including Medicaid and the Healthy Michigan Plan, the cost of testing should not be a barrier to access. Residents are encouraged to check with their plan to find out details of what is covered.

To address health disparities and to promote health equity, MDCH is releasing two reports and hosting two events in recognition of National Minority Health Month. The 2013 Arab Behavior Risk Factor Survey (BRFS) report and the 2014 Public Act 653 annual health equity report will be available online next week at www.michigan.gov/minorityhealth.

From April 13-17, a Minority Health Month exhibit will be on display at the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing. This exhibit traces the history (1898 to present) that led to the recognition of National Minority Health Month. MDCH is also hosting a webinar in collaboration with the Michigan Minority Health Coalition and the HHS Region V Health Equity Council (RHEC) on April 24, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. about Minority Health Month. “Thirty Years and Counting: The Impact of the Heckler Report in Minority Communities” will explore the importance of the Heckler Report and the historical national and Michigan efforts to address health equity. 

To register for the webinar or for more information about Minority Health Month, visit www.michigan.gov/minorityhealth. For more information about cancer resources, visit www.michigan.gov/cancer.

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