The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Minority Health (OMH), in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Minority Health, is celebrating Minority Health Month. This year, the theme is “30 Years of Advancing Health Equity, The Heckler Report: A Force for Ending Health Disparities in America.”
Take a few minutes to read the FDA Voice article titled “FDA Celebrates 30 Years of Advancing Health Equity” by Jonca Bull, MD. In the article, Dr. Bull shares the following:
“The Heckler Report was a major, ground breaking document that transformed HHS’s views and actions on minority health. For the first time in history, representatives from each agency convened to talk about minority health and, more importantly, put forth recommendations to achieve health equity. Findings illustrated huge disparities between African Americans and other minorities compared to the population at large for key health indicators, such as life expectancy and infant mortality. Key recommendations relevant to FDA’s mission centered around health information and education, cooperative efforts (inside and outside of the government), health professions development, data development, and developing a research agenda.”
I urge everyone who cares about disparities in healthcare to take the time to read the original Heckler Report and to compare where we are today against that benchmark. I warn you, that in many ways, this exercise will you cause you to be sad. Our job is to use our frustration and turn it into tangible and sustainable action.