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April is Minority Health Month in Kentucky; health status report reveals alarming statistics

Governor Matt Bevin has proclaimed April as Minority Health Month in Kentucky. The Department of Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) joins Governor Bevin, public health professionals and advocates in heightening awareness of health issues affecting minority populations in Kentucky.

During Minority Health Month, DPH’s Office of Health Equity releases the 2017 Kentucky Minority Health Status Report, which outlines the health of minority populations in the Commonwealth. The Minority Health Status Report promotes strategies and resources for using a health equity framework through ongoing community conversations to advance state, regional, and local efforts to reduce health disparities and advance health equity.

Minority populations in Kentucky suffer from higher rates of poverty and increased burdens of morbidity as well as mortality from acute and chronic illnesses. Evidence shows:

  • African American males have the lowest life expectancy in the state.
  • Hispanic and Appalachian residents have the highest teen pregnancy rates.
  • People with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Kentucky have a higher rate of obesity than the national average.

“Reporting disparity data alone will not change behaviors,” said Vivian Lasley-Bibbs, branch manager of the DPH Office of Health Equity. “Communities must acknowledge these disparities and support the necessary actions to build and support more resilient communities. We are committed to advancing health equity through collaborative partnerships to eliminate health disparities and to build a stronger, healthier Kentucky.”

On April 14, CHFS, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will co-sponsor the “Promoting Health Among Youth” event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kingdom Fellowship CLC, 324 E. Broadway, Louisville, KY 40202. The event will focus on educating middle and high school youth in minority communities.

DPH’s Obesity Prevention Program will also host a community engagement event in Clay County on April 19.  The event will feature Tom Wolff, a renowned expert, who will discuss successes and challenges of community engagement when educating about public health.

Kentucky’s efforts in this area are in line with the National Office of Minority Health theme for April which is “Partnering for Health Equity.” For more information about healthy equity and to view the 2017 Kentucky Minority Health Status Report, visit the Office of Health Equity website.

Additional information is available here.

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

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