Press Release

February 22, 2006


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, was the honored guest of the Cass County Interagency Council today at the Beardstown Elks Club. The Council consists of approximately 30 health care and educational organizations, including the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Center for Minority Health Services.

Dr. Whitaker discussed the changing demographics of the region and the response of health care organizations.

“As the state public health department, we need to make sure we are reaching out to every community – African Americans, Hispanics, Asians – to make sure they know the importance of health care and all the programs and services available to them,” said Dr. Whitaker. “Minority groups sometimes see higher disease or mortality rates because they are unaware, or can’t afford, early detection screenings or preventative health care. That’s why it’s important to come to communities like Beardstown, where the ethnic make-up of the community is changing, and address the changing needs of the health care system.”

The IDPH Center for Minority Health Services has worked closely with the Cass County Health Department to address some of these changes by providing a variety of bi-lingual services, including HIV/AIDS education and testing.

The Center for Minority Health Services was created to provide information and technical assistance regarding the health care needs of minority populations; and to develop, maintain and enhance health care services in minority communities. To achieve this goal, the Center works with state and local entities to heighten awareness of minority health issues and services across the state.

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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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