Catholic Health Care's Response to Disparities
Poor health outcomes for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are apparent when comparing their health indicators against those of the rest of the U.S. population. These populations experience higher rates of illness and death from health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, specific cancers, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, asthma, hepatitis B, and overweight and obesity.
In 2002, to reduce health disparities and improve the health status of minority populations, the 107th Congress in H. Con. Res 388 agreed to establish a National Minority Health and Health Disparities Month, now commemorated in April as National Minority Health Month.
The existence of racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes, access to care and receipt of quality health care stands in direct opposition to the mission of Catholic health care and the Catholic social tradition. To shed further light on this problem and how our ministry is addressing it, CHA asked its members for information about their initiatives to create a just health care system and increase access to all God's people in need.
In response, many unique approaches that are replicable were submitted. The information received underscores Catholic health care's shared commitment to:
- Promote and defend human dignity.
- Attend to the whole person.
- Care for those persons who are poor and vulnerable.
- Act on behalf of justice.
- Steward resources.
- Serve as a Ministry of the Church.
As a vibrant community of members, CHA's goal in this activity is to engage the ministry in a conversation about the continued need for initiatives that open opportunities for access to quality health care for all, regardless of racial or ethnic background. If you know of a program that can be shared with others, please submit program information so that we can continue to highlight your efforts and share practices across the membership.