February Health Equity Link

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HHS Office of Minority Health


February 2023  |  View as a webpage

Health Equity Link

In this Issue

Black History Month

Black History Month

Black History Month is observed each year in the U.S. from February 1 – March 1 to recognize the generations of Black and African American individuals who struggled with adversity and to celebrate their many contributions to the United States.  

The HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) is committed to addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) and improving the health of Black and African American communities, the second largest minority population in the United States.

This Black History Month, OMH is focusing on the impact of nutrition and food insecurity on Black and African American communities and their role in obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and maternal and infant mortality.   

Visit the OMH Black History Month website to access resources on key health concerns impacting Black and African American communities, information about the men and women who have contributed to advances in health care delivery and medical research, and templates to create your own graphics during the observance month. 

Learn More

American Heart Month

American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, a time to pay special attention to understanding, preventing, and treating heart disease—the leading cause of death in the United States.  

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), heart disease risk factors include lack of physical activity, family history of early heart disease, high blood pressure, prediabetes/diabetes, and obesity. Black and African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native individuals are at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.  

There are many ways to take action towards better heart health 

  • Increase physical activity 
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet
  • Track your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol   
  • Get quality sleep 
  • Reduce stress 
  • Stop smoking  
  • Maintain a healthy weight 

To promote the importance of heart health, use the hashtags #HeartMonth and #OurHearts on social media and share heart-healthy living tips from NHLBI

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National Cancer Prevention Month

CDC Cancer Prevention

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cancer was the second leading cause of death, after heart disease, in the United States in 2020. 

Death rates are higher for racial and ethnic groups and are often linked to socio-economic factors, including education, economic status, and access to health care. Black and African American individuals have the highest mortality rate of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined and for most major cancers. 

Prevention plays a role in lowering your risk of cancers. Healthy choices that can help prevent cancer include:  

  • Getting the HPV vaccine and hepatitis B vaccine 
  • Screening for various types of cancers, including breast, lung, cervical, and colorectal 
  • Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink 
  • Testing for hepatitis C 
  • Avoiding tobacco 
  • Wearing sunscreen and protective clothing from the sun 

This National Cancer Prevention Month, learn more from the CDC about how to screen and protect yourself from cancer.

Learn More Más información

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (February 7)

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is February 7, a day to address the impact of HIV on Black and African American communities. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. If HIV is not treated, it can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).  Black and African American individuals account for a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses and people with HIV, compared to other racial and ethnic minority populations.

Today, more tools and strategies than ever are available to prevent HIV, from condoms to medicines such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).  

Testing is the only way to know you have HIV. Use the CDC’s GetTested search tool to find free, fast, and confidential HIV testing near you. Help spark conversations about how HIV/AIDS impacts Black and African American communities on social media by using the hashtags #NBHAAD and #StopHIVTogether.  

Learn More Más información

Rare Disease Day (February 28)

RRD 2023

Rare Disease Day on February 28 raises awareness for rare diseases, which the Orphan Drug Act defines as a disease or condition that affects less than 200,000 people in the United States.

This year’s theme is
Show Your Stripes, encouraging everyone to show support of the lives  impacted by a rare disease.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), over 7,000 rare diseases affect more than 30 million people in the United States. 

Rare disease patients may experience inequities in diagnosis, care, and research due to limited research, complex needs for clinical care, and lack of treatments and access to health care and insurance. Racial and minority groups experience additional barriers in accessing care and are often underrepresented in clinical research 

This month, the FDA’s public meeting and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s Rare Disease Day event will provide opportunities to learn more about the latest initiatives and research on rare diseases. 

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OMH Knowledge Center


This month, in recognition of National Healthy Weight Week, the OMH Knowledge Center is featuring a collection of publications related to healthy weight. This collection includes documents, articles, and fact sheets ranging from childhood obesity, lifestyle determinants, racial disparities, and more.

These resources are available for free through the online catalog here.

Looking for more information on a topic included in this collection? View our search tips page for guidance on searching the online catalog.

Learn More

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