August Health Equity Link

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August 2021  |  View as a webpage

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In this Issue

CDC and OMH Partner to Launch the Minority Health Social Vulnerability Index


In July, the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the Minority Health Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). This tool can be leveraged to support the identification of racial and ethnic minority communities at greatest risk for disproportionate impact and adverse outcomes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minority Health SVI is an extension of the CDC SVI that combines the 15 social factors included in the original CDC SVI with additional factors known to be associated with COVID-19 outcomes. The factors were developed using five-year estimates of demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), and are organized into six themes:

  • Socioeconomic Status
  • Household Composition and Disability
  • Minority Status and Language
  • Housing Type and Transportation
  • Health Care Infrastructure
  • Medical Vulnerability

To learn more about social vulnerability and how the Minority Health SVI was developed, download the fact sheet from the OMH website.

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HIV Challenge: Seeking Innovative Community Engagement Strategies to Reduce HIV-Related Stigma and Disparities

HIV Challenge

OMH, in partnership with the OASH Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP), has developed a national prize competition to identify innovative and effective approaches to improve pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) utilization among racial and ethnic minority people who are at increased risk of HIV infections or are people with HIV/AIDS. 

In June, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report’s (MMWR) first reporting of HIV, the U.S. government coordinated events and activities across federal agencies and worked together with non-federal partners to end the HIV epidemic focusing on four key themes – Reflect, Recommit, Reenergize, Reengage.

The HIV Challenge initiative aligns with “Reenergize” and “Reengage” themes by creating an opportunity for on-the-ground voices to participate in developing novel, innovative approaches that can be successfully implemented within their local, at-risk communities. 

Information about the HIV Challenge is available in English and Spanish on the OMH website. Registration is open until September 24, 2021.

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National Immunization Awareness Month

National Immunization Awareness Month

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, an annual observance highlighting the importance of getting recommended vaccines throughout your life. Everyone has the power to protect themselves and their family against serious diseases like whooping cough, cancers caused by HPV, and pneumonia through on-time vaccination.

According to the CDC:

  • In 2017, Hispanic adults were 30 percent less likely to be fully immunized against hepatitis, as compared to white adults.
  • In 2017, Asian/Pacific Islander adults aged 65 years and older were 20 percent less likely to receive the pneumonia shot, compared to non-Hispanic white adults of the same age group.
  • In 2020, American Indian/Alaska Native adults aged 18 years and over were 20 percent less likely than non-Hispanic white adults to have received the influenza (flu) shot.
  • African Americans are 10 percent less likely to have received an HPV vaccine than white populations.

OMH encourages you to talk to your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional to ensure you, your child, and your family are up to date on recommended vaccines. Visit CDC’s Interactive Vaccine Guide, which provides information on the vaccines recommended during pregnancy and throughout your child’s life. Also, check out the Adult Vaccine Assessment Tool for information on vaccines you may need based on age, health conditions, job, and other factors

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National Minority Donor Awareness Month

National Minority Donor Awareness Month

National Minority Donor Awareness Month (NMDAM) is a collaborative initiative of the National Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation Multicultural Action Group to save and improve the quality of life of diverse communities by creating a positive culture for organ, eye, and tissue donation.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the observance founded by the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program to:

  • Educate about organ, eye, and tissue donation and transplantation.
  • Encourage donor registration & family conversations about donation.
  • Promote healthy living and disease prevention to decrease the need for transplantation.

According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, as of May 2021, there are over 100,000 people on the U.S. national transplant waiting list and nearly 60 percent are from multicultural communities.

OMH encourages everyone to register their decision to become an organ donor via the National Donate Life Registry and ask their family and friends about their decision to donate life. Visit the NMDAM website for more information and downloadable resources.

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National Health Center Week (August 8-14)

National Health Center Week

National Health Center Week is an annual celebration led by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) to raise awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past five decades.

From the very beginning of the pandemic crisis, Community Health Centers began finding innovative ways to provide preventative and primary care to their patients. They provide low-cost prenatal care, general primary care, COVID-19 screening and testing, and referrals to specialized care, including mental health, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS.

This year’s theme, “The Chemistry for Strong Communities,” will honor front-line providers, staff, and patients who have lost their lives during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

During the observance week, commemorate their lives and celebrate the future of community health by participating in the following dedicated focus days:

Join the conversation by using the hashtags #NHCW21 and #ValueCHCs on social media.

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Knowledge Center

OMH Knowledge Center

The OMH Knowledge Center online catalog includes several publications in support of National Immunization Awareness Month that inform the public on the importance of getting immunized. To read these recent publications, search the online catalog here.

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