The past several Census’ have consistently shown increased racial and ethnic diversity among the U.S. population. Though health indicators such as life expectancy and infant mortality have improved for most Americans, some minorities experience a disproportionate burden of preventable disease, death, and disability compared to non-minorities.

Optum wants to provide resources and direct people to these resources like tomorrow’s Covid-19 Vaccine Clinic for the Black Community.

April is recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as Minority Health Month, an observance that highlights efforts to improve the health of racial/ethnic minority populations nationwide. Part of this work includes raising awareness about the disproportionate health outcomes among vulnerable populations and people who belong to racial or ethnic minority groups.

Chad Bittner, chief medical officer at Optum Care Utah is here to share insights on this important and timely topic as long-standing systemic and social inequities have put many racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from illness as well as from COVID-19.

This month is dedicated to encouraging greater awareness about health care inequities that specifically affect racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. Although overall infant mortality rates have fallen over time, African American babies are twice as likely to die as white babies, according to the CDC statistics from 2000-2015.

 A 2011 CDC report showed that African American, Hispanic, Asian American, Native American, and Alaska Native populations suffer higher mortality rates than other populations. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics are 1.7 times and Native Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.

Accessibility to high-quality education, safe neighborhoods, and housing as well as access to medical care are all factors that can affect living a healthy life. These factors, often called social determinants of health, play a vital role in a community’s opportunity for wellbeing and health. This awareness month brings light to differences in the health outcomes of various racial and ethnic minority groups. This awareness can also inform individuals about how racial and ethnic minority groups who have poor social determinants of health and lack access to high-quality medical care are more likely to be diagnosed with and die from diseases.

Health equity is helping people live their healthiest lives by giving them the care and support they need to achieve optimal health. It’s providing differential support to make up for disparities stemming from systematic disadvantage. Health disparities are differences in health outcomes and their causes among certain groups of people. For example, African American children are more likely to die from asthma compared to non-Hispanic white children. Reducing health disparities creates better health for all Americans.

The Utah Department of Health Office of Health Disparities has a great health care resource list that includes everything from applying for health insurance to outlining public health insurance programs and health clinic resources.

Visit – https://www.health.utah.gov/disparities – for more information.

The OptumCare Community Centers have recently reopened to adults 55+ with locations in Sandy and West Valley and will soon be opening a location in Layton. Community Centers like these are also good places to engage with other older adults in healthy lifestyle activities like exercise and educational programs.

This story contains sponsored content.