Press Release

April 26, 2007


IDPH teams up with local groups and area ministers during Minority Health Month to raise awareness about health disparities

 State Public Health Officials encourage better health choices and testing  

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) officials today encouraged African-Americans to take charge of their health by making better choices and taking advantage of testing for certain diseases and conditions. “Building the Legacy of Good Health” was the theme of today’s event, sponsored by IDPH’s Center for Minority Health Services, in partnership with Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Free HIV, blood pressure, cholesterol and prostate cancer screenings were offered at the exhibition and health event that was one of 70 IDPH events held this April in observance of Minority Health Month.

“We encourage healthy eating habits, exercise and having routine tests,” said Doris Turner, Chief of the IDPH Center for Minority Health Services. “We continue to see higher rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, and prostate cancer among African-Americans compared to their counterparts. We offering these free services to get people started on a better course of managing their health.”

IDPH offered the free health services after Governor Rod R. Blagojevich proclaimed April 23 to 29 “Cover the Uninsured Week” in Illinois to highlight the struggle of the 1.4 million adults in Illinois who are uninsured. The Governor’s Illinois Covered plan can help African-Americans by ensuring that they, along with all Illinoisans, have access to quality, affordable healthcare. According to a recent survey, over 22 percent of the State’s uninsured are African-American. These numbers are startling given the fact that African-Americans only make up a little over 15 percent of the total population.

Efforts to raise awareness and eliminate health disparities include working with community and faith based organizations. Other programs to reduce the health disparities include:

  • Communities of Color Initiatives – Created in July 2003 by Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Communities of Color Initiatives address health disparities within the African American and Hispanic communities by working in conjunction with community-based, faith-based, educational institutions and local health departments to provide health prevention information and screening services. The Stand Against Cancer (SAC) program is part of the Communities of Color Initiatives and works to reduce racial and economic disparities by providing access to breast and cervical cancer screenings and treatment. Other aspects of the Communities of Color Initiatives include the Illinois HIV/AIDS Initiative and funding to provide prostate cancer awareness and outreach programs targeting African American men.

  • BASUAH – Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS - Gov. Blagojevich launched a comprehensive HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, on September 15, 2005, to address the alarming trend of infection among the state’s African-American community. The initiative is called the BASUAH Project: Brothers And Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS. Through community outreach, testing and positive peer influence, the mission is to reduce new cases of HIV/AIDS while empowering people with the knowledge to better protect themselves.

A calendar detailing Minority Health Month events is located on the Illinois Department of Public Health Web site at or by calling the Center for Minority Health at (217) 785-3411.

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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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