Because minority populations in the United States continue to endure health disparities compared to Caucasians—such as higher risks of high blood pressure, diabetes and certain forms of cancer—two agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are offering significant financial support to help close this gap.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently awarded $19 million to community coalitions in 15 states to help eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) contributed an additional $5 million, making the total contribution $24 million. The NIH has pledged to continue this level of aid for the next four years.

“The CDC is committed to eliminating the disparities in health status experienced by racial and ethnic minority populations by the year 2010,” says CDC director Dr. Jeffrey P. Koplan, “while continuing the progress made in improving the overall health of the American people.”

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This is the second year the CDC has provided funding as part of its initiative “Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health” or REACH 2010. The program targets six health priority areas: infant mortality, breast and cervical cancer screening and management, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, child and adult immunization levels and HIV/AIDS.

A total of 24 community coalitions will receive funding to help them reduce health disparities in minority populations. Some of the organizations that will benefit from this support include the Boston Public Health Commission, the Chicago Department of Health, the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health.

“We are pleased to continue to support community-based programs that are effective in serving these affected populations,” Koplan explains.
 

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