BMHA collaborates with a diverse group of professionals who are dedicated to understanding and improving health inequities that specifically challenge minorities and the underserved populations in Louisiana. Partnerships are established with community-based organizations, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), faith-based organizations and local city and parish governments to identify health care gaps, analyze data, and consult with health care professionals and policy makers in order to help build community skills, capacities and leadership. Exchange of information among partners is critical, whether formal or informal
and this exchange allows everyone to learn how communities have addressed health issues in order to mitigate specific health disparities.
The purpose of this report is to detail the Bureau’s progress toward creating a state action plan to eliminate health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities. This report will provide an overview of the Bureau and its responsibilities. In the following pages, information, diagrams, maps, and charts are included to demonstrate certain aspects of the health status and disease prevalence of Louisiana’s citizens. This information can provide direction in assessing andplanning for disease prevention as well as accessing health care and education for Louisiana’s multicultural populations and communities.
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Social Determinants of Health
The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including the health system. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels, which are themselves influenced by policy choices. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities - the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries.
The fundamental purpose of the National Stakeholder Strategy is to promote systematic and systemic change that improves the overall health of the nation. Achieving this purpose will take time, include many people, and require that steps be taken incrementally while maintaining focus on the ultimate goal of achieving health equity. In this regard, the information in this section addresses the practical matter of what may be required to influence change and improve outcomes for affected communities.
Individuals, families and communities that have systematically experienced social and economic
disadvantage face greater obstacles to optimal health. Characteristics such as race or ethnicity, religion,
SES, gender, age, mental health, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity, geographic location, or
other characteristics historically linked to exclusion or discrimination are known to influence health status.9
While this HHS Disparities Action Plan focuses primarily on health disparities associated with race and
ethnicity, many of the strategies can also apply across a wide array of population dimensions. For example,
expanding healthcare access, data collection, and the use of evidence-based interventions will contribute to
health equity for vulnerable populations that are defined by income, geography, disability, sexual orientation
or other important characteristics.
Preventing disease and injuries is key to improving America’s health. When we invest in prevention, the benefits are broadly shared. Children grow up in communities, homes, and families that nurture their healthy development, and people are productive and healthy, both inside and outside the workplace. Businesses benefit because a healthier workforce reduces longterm health care costs and increases stability and productivity. Furthermore, communities that offer a healthy, productive, stable workforce can be more attractive places for families to live and for businesses to locate.
Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. For 3 decades, Healthy People has established benchmarks and monitored progress over time in order to:
For more than 30 years, I’ve observed the difficulties many people face as they attempt to use our health care system. I’ve seen firsthand the inequities in health status and access to care and the outcomes that persist. My own experiences in treating patients, running a large government agency and overseeing academic research, have given me a unique perspective about the Nation’s health care and public health systems, and more importantly the need to make health literacy a public health priority.