|September 16, 2003|
TAKE A LOVED ONE TO THE DOCTOR DAY
SPRINGFIELD, IL Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and the Illinois Department of Public Health today are encouraging Illinoisans - especially African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities who are disproportionately affected by preventable diseases - to schedule an appointment and take a loved one to a doctor for a regular checkup.
As part of a second annual nationwide effort, Blagojevich proclaimed today Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day in Illinois, to focus attention on the importance of early disease detection and prompt health care referrals as essential elements to reducing health disparities that exist between racial and ethnic groups.
"The lack of regular health care visits contributes to higher rates of mortality from preventable diseases, such as heart disease and stroke, HIV, cancer and diabetes," said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director.
The governor urged minorities and others to take charge of their health care. "Regular health care can improve and even extend the lives of those you love," Blagojevich said. "Take this opportunity to encourage those you love to visit a health care professional. Make an appointment for them or go with them to the doctor."
The Department's Center for Minority Health Services is partnering with local health departments, communities of color and ethnic groups throughout the state to encourage individuals to take charge of their health care by visiting a health care professional, making an appointment for a visit, attending a health-related event in the community, or helping a friend, neighbor, or family member do the same. For their efforts, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has given the Center for Minority Health Services the designation of "Featured State Partner" for this year's campaign.
While it is important for everyone to take care of their health, the Department is targeting this message at minorities because they are disproportionately impacted by a number of preventable diseases. For example:
In Illinois, pledge cards urging individuals to exercise more regularly, eat healthier, schedule a check-up, or have an HIV test have been utilized in conjunction with health fairs and other related events. In addition to the gubernatorial proclamation, events to commemorate the day include the issuance of several municipal proclamations, health fairs, car safety seat checks, -more- add 2 screenings and AIDS and Lupus runs and walks. A complete calendar of events is available on the Department's Web site http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/minority_hlth/loved_one_cal.htm.
The Take A Loved One to the Doctor Day grew out of the Closing the Health Gap initiative launched nationally to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Questions or Comments