Public Health Week Addresses Health Disparities: MDCH Launches Disparities Awareness Day

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

April 7, 2005

As part of National Public Health Week, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is promoting awareness of a different public health issue each day this week. Today's information focuses on reducing health disparities and minority health problems.

Disparities Awareness Day highlights the importance of eliminating differences in general health due to ethnicity or class. Narrowing these differences is a major goal of the Health Disparities Reduction and Minority Health Program at the Michigan Department of Community Health. They strive to eliminate health disparities for different minority populations, low-income households, and in some cases, for women.

"The burden of disease is too often greater for poor, ethnic minorities, and the uninsured than for the general population," said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director. "To eliminate health disparities and improve functional and clinical outcomes, health care organizations must work together with government and citizens."

According to the Michigan Surgeon General's Prescription for a Healthier Michigan and Healthy Michigan 2010, white males live an average of seven-and-a-half years longer than African American males. Additionally, teen pregnancy is almost double in Hispanics/Latinos when compared to whites.

"The prevalence of health disparities is a cause for great concern and must be addressed," said Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, Michigan Surgeon General. "It is important that we recognize inequalities in the health of our citizens and that we address these trends in order to ensure a healthy Michigan."

National Public Health Week 2005 is about empowering Americans to live stronger, longer. Each day will focus and promote awareness of a different public health related issue. Informational events as well as free health assessments will be taking place across the state throughout the week.