April 11, 2005
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH ADDRESSES HEALTH
SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to raise awareness and address health disparities among minorities, Gov. Rod Blagojevich proclaimed April as Minority Health Month.
“It is important that the United States has a strong and successful health care system that benefits all citizens equally regardless of race, gender, and ethnicity,” the Governor’s proclamation reads. “Significant health disparities, including differences in the incidence, prevalence, and mortality rate exist among minority groups for preventable health conditions and diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and infant mortality. Although the health status of all Illinois citizens has improved over the last decade, there is still work to be done to ensure that all men and women receive the care necessary to eliminate health disparities among our minority populations.”
Minority Health Month is a 30-day health promotion and disease prevention campaign. Partnerships between health care, community-based, and faith-based organizations are essential in promoting a healthy lifestyle, providing resources to individuals, and educating the public about health disparities and what they can do to improve minority health year-round.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will sponsor or co-sponsor approximately 60 events and activities throughout the state during Minority Health Month. Some of the events include free and anonymous HIV testing, health fairs/seminars, and workshops addressing diabetes, depression, substance abuse, domestic violence, breast and cervical cancer, Hepatitis C and obesity.
“I encourage our minority citizens to attend one or more of these events in their area and to make a commitment to improve ones health,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director. “Taking better care of our health benefits not only ourselves, but our family and community.”
The Mississippi River District United Methodist Project in the Metro East is one of many faith-based organizations partnering with the state to get the message out about minority health disparities.
“Educating the community about what health issues plague our population is the first step in creating change and improving the health of our citizens,” said Rev. Dr. Beverly Wilkes, CEO, Mississippi River District United Methodist Project.
Gov. Blagojevich and various state agencies are addressing health disparities in the following ways:
of Public Health
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