January Health Equity Link

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January 2022  |  View as a webpage

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In this Issue

Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma can cause vision loss, but you can help prevent it. NEHEP. Take advantage of the Medicare benefits.

Celebrate healthy vision during Glaucoma Awareness Month this January by educating others about this potentially blinding eye disease. Glaucoma often has no early warning signs. It has no symptoms and causes no pain, but it can be detected early through a comprehensive dilated eye exam. You may be eligible to have most of the cost of an eye exam paid for by Medicare.

According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), Black/African Americans over age 40, Hispanics/Latinos over age 60, people with a family history of glaucoma, and people living with diabetes are at higher risk for glaucoma.

Visit the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) website to find fact sheets, infographics, social media graphics, videos and webinars, and the Talk With Your Doctor About Glaucoma guide, also available in Spanish.

Learn More Más información

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

I was having unusual symptoms and thought it was just part of growing older. Women, know the signs and tell your doctor.

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Cervical cancer starts in the cervix and often occurs in women over age 30. Long-lasting infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) is the leading cause of cervical cancer. Other risk factors include:

  • Sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV
  • Smoking
  • Having given birth to three or more children
  • Use of birth control pills for longer than five years

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hispanic/Latina women have the highest cervical cancer rates, followed by Black/African American women.

The most important thing you can do to help prevent cervical cancer is to get vaccinated for HPV early and have regular screening tests. Low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women can access cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic services through the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP).

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Healthy Weight Week (January 16-22)

Image shows a South Asian woman following a healthy recipe.

January 16-22 is Healthy Weight Week, a time to encourage everyone to focus on healthy eating, physical activity, optimal sleep, and stress reduction to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Combined data from the CDC 2020 Adult Obesity Prevalence Maps show that Black/African American adults had the highest prevalence of self-reported obesity (40.7%), followed by Hispanic/Latino adults (35.2%) and Asian adults (11.6%). Take charge of your weight and health with the following resources:

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Your Healthiest Self Emotional Wellness Toolkit, also available in Spanish, highlights six strategies for improving your emotional health. 

Learn More Más información

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 17)

Words Matter. Actions Matter. Serve on MLK Day 2022. #MLKDay. AmeriCorps.

Observed each year on the third Monday in January, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. The COVID-19 pandemic and events of 2020 and 2021 have opened our eyes wider to the inequity in our world. The time is now to act with swift urgency to deliver on the promise of Dr. King’s example and mission.

The commemoration of the MLK Day of Service is a call to act on his legacy of social justice and equity and recommit ourselves as citizens by volunteering in service to others. We can strengthen ties to our communities and one other through these efforts while addressing critical issues that divide us.

Use the AmeriCorps Volunteer Search to find a volunteer opportunity near you and highlight your MLK Day of Service via social media using the hashtags #MLKDay, #WordsMatterActionsMatter, and #UnitedWeServe.  

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Youth Mental Health During the Holidays

Illustration shows a sad girl dressed in blue

According to the U.S. Surgeon General's Advisory on Protecting Youth Mental Health, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, mental health challenges were already the leading cause of poor health outcomes among young people. COVID-19 complicated these challenges. Since the pandemic began, anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns have increased among young people.

Poor mental health can also increase during the rush of the holidays, especially if you can’t spend time with your friends and family or have lost a loved one to COVID. Below are some steps you can take to protect your mental health:

  • Remember that mental health challenges are real, common, and treatable.
  • Find trusted adults, friends, or family members to talk to about stressful situations.
  • Spend time with others regularly, in-person and virtually.
  • Learn and practice techniques to manage stress and other difficult emotions.
  • Take care of your body and mind: eat well, stay physically active, spend time outside.
  • Be intentional about your use of social media, video games, and other technologies.

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Knowledge Center

Looking for the latest minority health resources and publications? Visit the OMH Knowledge Center Online Catalog.

In recognition of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, the OMH Knowledge Center features a collection of articles and documents focusing on disparities in cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination.

To view this collection in the online catalog, click here.

Learn More

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