April marks the beginning of National Minority Health Month, a month created to promote the well-being of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in America. During this month and beyond, Beacon Public Health’s vision is to create healthy and whole BIPOC communities by diminishing the impact of chronic diseases.
This year’s theme for National Minority Health Month is Give Your Community A Boost, which focuses on reducing health disparities with an emphasis on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
We want to encourage everyone to do their part in fighting against the spread of the virus, seeing that vaccination and COVID booster shots are one of the most effective ways to reduce the impacts of the pandemic. Adding to this, BIPOC are disproportionately affected by the pandemic, compared to other communities, which further highlights the importance of this year’s theme.
Historically, minorities have been ill-treated by the health system, which is why it comes as no surprise that they display a great distrust for it— particularly when it comes to vaccinations and the coronavirus pandemic. All COVID-19 vaccines went through clinical trials and have been shown to be safe and effective in preventing serious illness and death. Educating communities to fight misinformation is key if we want to close the health disparities gap and reduce the effects of the virus.
Health disparities continue to persist in other areas, with data showing that BIPOC groups have higher incidences of illness across diseases like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and more—leading to disability and premature death.
While there are many reasons for these disparities, one reason is medical racism, which results in Black and brown people receiving lower quality healthcare and also plays a role in many not getting diagnosed for these diseases in the first place. This leads to comorbidities and making this population more susceptible to COVID-19 and its complications.
Closing the health disparities gap and achieving health equity will take a multi-faceted, all hands approach if we ever expect to see real change.
We need to focus on addressing the root causes of these disparities by implementing organizational and systemic change, adopting policies and laws that invest in BIPOC communities, addressing the social determinants of health, and ensuring a diverse workforce that is equipped to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate care, for starters.
Living a healthy life is a basic human right and we should all do our part to boost our communities!
Join the initiative and #GiveYourCommunityABoost by getting vaccinated, recommending that others do the same, and spreading accurate, factual education to advance the health of BIPOC communities.
To learn more about Beacon Public Health’s initiatives, programs, and resources visit www.BeaconPublicHealth.com and follow us on social media at the handles below.
Instagram/LinkedIn/Facebook: @BeaconPublicHealth | Twitter: @BeaconPubHlth