State health department observes National Minority Health Month

Health advocates encourage advancing health equity, lowering disparities

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[April 17, 2013]  CHICAGO -- The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Center for Minority Health Services join health organizations and advocates nationwide in observing National Minority Health Month and supporting this year's theme: "Advancing Health Equity Now: Uniting Our Communities to Bring Health Care Coverage to All."

Gaps in health outcomes between communities of color and white communities in Illinois and nationwide continue to exist in almost every major category. Non-whites have a lower life expectancy than whites in Illinois, according to census data. Also, the lack of access to health care as well as the incidence of certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS and certain cancers remains disproportionately high in some minority communities in Illinois.

"Everyone in America deserves the chance to live a healthy life, regardless of who they are and where they live," said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. "Bridging health equity and providing access to culturally competent health care for all citizens in Illinois (are) essential to our mission and the work of the Center for Minority Health Services."

Hasbrouck also encouraged people of color to take control of their health by making healthier lifestyle choices such as eating healthier, exercising regularly and getting regular health screenings.

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To that end, the Illinois Department of Public Health is hosting the second annual Central Counties Health Centers 5K run and walk at 9 a.m. Saturday at Washington Park in Springfield. IDPH's Wellness on Wheels mobile health van will also be on-site providing free health screenings that day.

A calendar of free Minority Health Month events is available at or by texting event to 36363. Also, sign up for weekly health tips and recipes by texting alert to 36363. For more information about Minority Health Month or the 5K run and walk, contact the Center for Minority Health services at 217-782-4977.

[Text from Illinois Department of Public Health file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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