Celebrating National Minority Health Month

April 12th, 2013

Advancing Health Equity for Moms, Babies, & Families:
National Minority Health Month 2013

In the U.S., too many parents lose a child before celebrating the joy of a first birthday. And too many babies are born too early and too small. This health crisis affects all families and communities, but is a disproportionately heavy burden for some.

For example, did you know?:

  • The U.S. infant mortality rate is one of the highest among developed nations, but rates are much higher among African Americans, regardless of income, educational level, or location. More than twice as many African American babies die before their first birthday, compared to their non-Hispanic white counterparts.
  • African American mothers are more than twice as likely as their non-Hispanic white counterparts to receive no prenatal care in the first two trimesters, or to receive no prenatal care at all.
  • American Indian and Alaska Native communities experience a 60% higher infant mortality rate compared to non-Hispanic whites, and their rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is twice the rate of the white community’s.
  • Puerto Rican infants are twice as likely to die from causes related to low birth weight, compared to non-Hispanic white infants.
  • African American babies have the highest preterm birth rate of any racial or ethnic group.

The causes of problems like preterm birth and infant mortality are complex and can include poverty, lack of access to health care, and lack of information. At HMHB, we are proud to work with so many partners who are committed to addressing these challenges at the national, state, and community levels. And we’re passionate about the potential of initiatives like our text4baby program, which helps to provide pregnant women and new moms across the country with the best possible health information and access to care, and the National Premature Infant Health Coalition, which brings together a diverse group of partners and stakeholders to communicate, educate, and advocate around the crisis of preterm birth.

We believe that all children should have the chance to celebrate their first birthday – and that all mothers, babies, and families should have access to health information and care, regardless of who they are and where they live. Throughout April, join with us and other partners of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Minority Health to mark National Minority Health Month, whose 2013 theme is “Advance Health Equity Now.”

You can make a difference by:

  • Sharing this blog post to raise awareness about health disparities affecting racial and ethnic minorities.
  • Helping an expectant or new mom enroll with the text4baby service, by texting BABY to 511411 (or for Spanish, BEBE to 511411).
  • Joining the work of the National Premature Infant Health Coalition by becoming a member.
  • Sharing key messages from the Office of Minority Health to your personal and organizational Facebook page and Twitter handle throughout the month of April, using hashtag #ActNow.
  • Taking part in Minority Health Month events in your local community.

In the comments below, please tell us how you are making a difference!