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Democrats to Host Forum on Minority Health Disparities

Apr 19, 2016
Press Release
Three Panels to Discuss Challenges & Efforts to Achieve Health Equity

WASHINGTON, DC — On Friday, April 29, House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats led by Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), in partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), will hold a forum titled, “Achieving Health Equity: The Path Forward.”  The forum comes at the end of National Minority Health Month, where this year’s theme is “Accelerating Health Equity for the Nation.”  

While progress is being made to achieve health equity throughout the U.S., continued racial and ethnic disparities exist in the access and quality of healthcare.  Cardiovascular disease in particular exacts a disproportionate toll on many racial and ethnic groups, with the American Heart Association estimating it accounts for nearly 40 percent of the disparity in life expectancy between black and white Americans. 

The forum will focus on health disparities in the treatment and prevention of heart disease among racial and ethnic minorities, as well as efforts to build a more diverse healthcare workforce and transform medical research to meet the needs of a diverse population.  Stakeholders representing diverse areas of expertise on these topics will participate in the forum.

“Though we as a nation have made tremendous strides in improving the health of all Americans, there are still stark disparities in the access, availability, and outcomes of care for minority populations,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ).  “I’m pleased to host this forum with the Tri Caucuses to explore ways to bridge this unfortunate and unacceptable health care gap.”

“Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke are some of the most debilitating diseases to disproportionately impact minority communities.  This month, we recognize the importance of addressing health inequities in minority and underserved communities.  Healthier communities mean lower health costs and a more productive America,” said CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC).

“I am proud to join Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chairwoman Judy Chu to host this forum to advance efforts to improve the health of minority communities.  It's important to have an open discussion about the challenges our communities face so we can effectively address racial and ethnic disparities in our health system,” said CHC Chairwoman Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA).

“All too often the Asian American community is stereotyped as a ‘model minority,’ implying that all Asian Americans have successfully overcome the obstacles they face.  This is simply not true. From high rates of unreported mental illness among Asian American women to a severe healthcare professional shortage in the Pacific Islands, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) face unique circumstances that require a stronger commitment to curbing health disparities throughout our healthcare system.  Bridging the gap between needs and care must include, at minimum, expanded access to the Health Insurance Marketplace, culturally competent and linguistically appropriate services, improved data collection and health research on AAPIs, and a serious emphasis on preventative care.  As we mark National Minority Health Month, I am pleased to join with House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats and my colleagues in the Congressional Black and Hispanic caucuses to host this important forum on how we can better meet the needs of underserved communities and achieve health equity for all,” said CAPAC Chairwoman Judy Chu (D-CA).

“There are many diseases severely affecting minority communities because they cannot access affordable healthcare or quality care providers.  Minority communities even lack basic services such as access to trauma centers and are excluded from participation in clinical trials.  The time has always been now to put an end to health disparities among minority populations,” said Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL).


Date & Time:    Friday, April 29, 11 a.m.

Location:           U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Room HVC-215

East Capitol St. and 1st St. NE

Washington, DC 20004