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April is Minority Health Month

Sunday, April 08, 2007 | 07:00pm

Since 2004, the Tennessee Office of Minority Health has observed National Minority Health Month. Through a proclamation signed by Governor Phil Bredesen, Tennessee has again joined the national call to officially designate April 2007 as Tennessee’s Minority Health Month. As an extension of Minority Health Month, the Tennessee Office of Minority Health is sponsoring the daylong Minority Health Month Summit “Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention:  Embracing Our Hearts.” 

“While our state is dedicated to providing better health options to all of our citizens, I designated April as Minority Health Month to highlight the health status of our minority populations in Tennessee,” said Governor Bredesen. “We, along with partnering health care providers across this state, strive year-round and long-term to work comprehensively to eliminate health disparities.”  

Minority Health Month helps raise awareness of health disparities and other health issues that largely impact minority populations. The observance is designed to address not only the needs of African-Americans, but also Hispanic, Asian-American and Native American communities in Tennessee. 

“It is our goal to stimulate the consciousness of other government agencies, community and faith-based organizations, and individuals, motivating them to support policies that will encourage good health practices to promote the reduction of health disparities in Tennessee,” said Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN. 

In collaboration with Department’s Community Services section and the Tennessee Minority Health and Community Development Coalition, Inc., the Office of Minority Health invites participation in the second annual Minority Health Summit. Hosted by State Representative Johnny Shaw, the conference will be held at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center, located at 605 Airways Boulevard in Jackson, on Friday, April 20, 2007, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Planned breakout meetings during the Summit include “Status of the Heart,” “Guiding Health Hearts,” “Your Health Is In Your Hands,” and “Race and Cardiovascular Health.” There are a limited number of slots remaining. To register for this event, please contact the Office of Minority Health at (615) 741-9443.

“April brings national attention on health and socioeconomic issues that disproportionately affect minority communities in the United States,” said Robbie Jackman, executive director of the Tennessee Office of Minority Health. “Beyond raising awareness, this month is also an opportunity for individuals, institutions and communities to pool their resources to eliminate health disparities through local health-related activities and events. By embracing a common agenda of improving health outcomes for communities of color, Tennessee can improve and sustain a higher quality of living for all communities.” 

Tennessee’s focus for Minority Health Month this year is cardiovascular disease. According to a recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tennessee ranked number four in the nation with 7.4 percent of adults who suffer from heart disease, angina (chest pain) or who had a history of heart attack. Unfortunately, the effect that heart disease and stroke has on the African-American population is even more pronounced. The 2005 death rates for both heart disease and stroke for African-Americans in Tennessee were 1.2 times the rate of white Tennesseans.  

The Tennessee Office of Minority Health is compiling a comprehensive calendar of events planned for April. The listing of events is available at www2.state.tn.us/health/minorityhealth.

For information on the Minority Health Month Summit and other planned activities in Tennessee, please contact the Tennessee Office of Minority Health at (615) 741-9443 or toll free at 1-877-606-0089.

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