September Health Equity Link

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September 2022  |  View as a webpage

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In this Issue

National Sickle Cell Awareness Month

National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. HHS OMH.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited condition that affects red blood cells, making them hard and sticky. The blood cells of someone living with sickle cell disease are C-shaped and resemble a farm tool called a sickle. They become stuck as they travel through small blood vessels and can cause acute pain, infection, and stroke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • One out of every 365 Black people is born with sickle cell disease.
  • One out of every 16,300 Latino people is born with sickle cell disease.
  • About one in thirteen Black babies are born with sickle cell trait.

National Sickle Cell Awareness Month serves as a time to encourage people living with sickle cell disease to join research studies and clinical trials that seek to find effective treatments and a cure that will work for all patients. Learn more about sickle cell research studies at the Cure Sickle Cell Initiative website and find studies to join at

Visit the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) Sickle Cell Disease Initiative website for information, videos, downloadable materials, and more to help raise awareness about sick cell disease.

Learn More

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month. HHS OMH.

Every year, Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from September 15 to October 15. The theme for this year’s observance is Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.

Throughout the month, the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) will partner with other federal offices and stakeholders to share bilingual education messages about disease prevention and health promotion to help build healthier and stronger Latino communities.

Visit the OMH Hispanic Heritage Month website to find resources, social media messages and graphics, and other materials.

Learn More Más información

National Food Safety Education Month

September. Food Safety Education Month.

September is National Food Safety Education Month. Foodborne illnesses—also known as food poisoning—result from eating food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and natural (e.g., molds) or chemical toxins. Anyone can get sick from food poisoning, but you are at a higher risk if you are 65 years and older, have a weakened immune system, or are pregnant. Food poisoning can also be more dangerous for children younger than five.

Follow these four steps whenever preparing food at home:

  • Clean: Wash your hands with plain soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and clean utensils, cutting boards, and countertops after preparing food.
  • Separate: Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods while cooking and in your refrigerator.
  • Cook to the right temperature. Use this chart to find the safe minimum internal temperature for red meat, poultry, seafood, leftovers, and more.
  • Chill: Refrigerate unused or leftover food as quickly as possible, typically within two hours. Keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below and your freezer at 0˚F or below.

Visit the CDC's Food Safety webpage, available in English and Spanish, for information on food safety when eating out or ordering delivery, as well as during the holidays and other special events.

Learn More Más información

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

#BeThe1To Be There. Find out how you could save a life at Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. According to the CDC, people of any age, race, ethnicity, or sex can experience suicide risk, but certain groups have substantially higher rates of suicide. These include veterans, sexual and gender minorities, and American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) people. Suicide rates among AI/AN people is 68.4 per 100,000 for males ages 15-34, 36.0 per 100,000 for males ages 35-64, and 33.0 per 100,000 for youth ages 10-24.

#BeThe1To, an initiative of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, has identified five evidence-based steps (also available in Spanish) that can help you support someone in crisis:

  • Ask the question, "Are you thinking about suicide?" and listen to their answer without judgment.
  • Be there, whether in-person, on the phone, or through social media. Help them feel connected and explore their reasons for living.
  • Keep them safe. Put time and distance between the person in crisis and any self-harm or lethal methods.
  • Help them connect to mental health services and other sources of support.
  • Follow up. Visit, leave a message, send a text, or give them a call.

There is hope. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to speak with a skilled, trained crisis worker. 988, la línea de prevención del suicidio y crisis, está disponible en español.

Learn More

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (September 18)

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day. September 18.

September 18 is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, a day to combat the stigma faced by older Americans living with HIV and address the aging-related challenges of HIV testing, prevention, and care.

With advances in treatment, people with HIV live longer, healthier lives, but older people in America are more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage HIV. According to the CDC, people aged 55 years and older have the highest percentage of Stage 3 (AIDS) diagnoses. Among racial and ethnic minorities, Asian people (48.9) and Latino people (40.2) aged 55 years and older have the highest percentages of Stage 3 diagnoses, and American Indian or Alaska Native people ages 45-54 years old have the highest percentage (51.8) of Stage 3 diagnoses.

Early diagnosis and care are key strategies for ending HIV. Talk to your doctor about prevention strategies such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), antiretroviral therapy (ART), and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

Learn More Find HIV Services Near You

OMH Knowledge Center

Looking for minority health library services or resources? Visit the OMH Knowledge Center.

This month, the OMH Knowledge Center is featuring a collection of resources on sickle cell disease. This collection includes a variety of reports, journal articles, and consumer materials focused on prevalence, patient care, and health policy. Many of these resources are available for free.

Access this collection through the online catalog here.

Learn More

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