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Minority Health: Your Stories, Breaking Down Disparities, & the Work Ahead (Page 2)

Woman and young child in waiting room

April is National Minority Health Month. This month is for highlighting the importance of reducing health disparities and improving health for racial and ethnic minorities in the United States.

Examining Our History of White Supremacy

This year’s theme is Better Health Through Better Understanding. At UVA Health, we believe understanding is the key to doing better. Understanding means learning about and acknowledging the history of racism and white supremacy here. That helps us “understand how historical developments might continue to influence UVA Health and the organization’s relationship with the surrounding Charlottesville/Albemarle community,” says Dan Cavanaugh, who created a tour to capture this history.

How Racism Drives Health Disparities

Understanding also means learning about the many ways racism creates health disparities:
• Race and ethnicity often work together with other social determinants of health. For example, decades of residential segregation have made a huge impact on minority communities’ health.
• Minorities face delays in care that white people do not.
• Historically, research studies we’ve used to understand and treat disease have not included minorities. When they did, they caused harm, such as in the Tuskegee syphilis study, which used Black men as test subjects without their consent.

Improving Minority Health at UVA Health

We have a long way to go to reduce health disparities for racial and ethnic minorities. Some ways UVA Health has committed to eliminating disparities and improving health for all community members include:
• Expanding access to culturally competent care through the Latino Health Initiative. Because of the group’s efforts, 92% of the local Latinx community got COVID vaccines.
• Combining data on public health, the social determinants of health, and genetic research at the new Center for Health Equity and Precision Public Health, with the goal to create a clearer picture of how genetics and the environment work together to impact health.
• Improving health through community partnerships, like these offered through UVA Cancer Center.
• Providing care for refugee and immigrant families in our international clinic.
Free language help for any patient who needs it.

Spotlight On Minority Health

Here at UVA Health, we’re committed to correcting the mistakes of the past and working with the community to make sure we offer an equitable healthcare experience.

“We know health disparities exist. Our goal is to touch as many people as possible with health equity that benefits everyone,” says Claudette Grant, an outreach and engagement specialist at UVA Cancer Center.

See these articles to learn more about healthcare disparities, their impacts, and how we can do better.

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