Leading Organizations Develop a National Action Plan to Combat Health Disparities

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Hosted by the National Medical Association, the 2013 Summit on African American Health produces comprehensive document on health disparities and provides an aggressive roadmap for change.

“The State of African American Health: The National Action Plan Report” is being released today. The report of the 2013 African American Health Summit is a comprehensive analysis of health disparities and provides a roadmap for effectively addressing these disparities.

The Summit was held March 2013 and convened leading organizations from healthcare, government, private corporations, and patient advocacy groups, faith-based and civic organizations to address the critical health care needs of the African Americans. This diverse coalition of organizations served as the architects of the most comprehensive strategic health agenda available dealing with African American healthcare and specifically health disparities. A comprehensive analysis of the state of African American Health and the impact of the Affordable Care Act was considered. This report addresses health disparities and includes a five-year action plan to improve access to health care for African Americans, barriers to care and stigma, among other issues. The ultimate goal of the National Action Plan is to decrease disparities in morbidity and mortality among African Americans.

The National Medical Association (NMA), the nation’s oldest and largest association of African American physicians and a leading voice in addressing health disparities, served as the host organization for the 2013 Summit and partnered with other organizations in the development of the National Action Plan.

Among other actions, the action agenda calls for:

  •     Creating statistically significant decreases in barriers for access to care; increases in health literacy; increased confidence in sources of health care and in health treatment; increased understanding of preventative care and its importance; promoting the use of daily time to care for health;
  •     Developing clear and concise guidelines for early detection of health conditions that are highly prevalent among African Americans and creating statistically significant increases in screenings for these conditions;
  •     Activating community resources that can be used to address lack of knowledge, lack of health insurance and other barriers to health access;
  •     Increasing community-based health education through media partnerships;
  •     Identifying primary care physicians and/or behavioral health providers to serve as medical homes for 100% of African Americans.

“Strategies to address health disparities must include social variables that affect health outcomes, such as poverty, education, homelessness, familial structure and relationships, gender, culture, ethnocentrism, discrimination and other factors,” said Dr. Rahn K. Bailey, the Chair of the 2013 Summit and the 113th President/Immediate Past President of the NMA. “The purpose of this report is to stimulate healthcare professionals, policymakers, educators and the general public to engage in efforts to collectively work together to strategically address health disparities.”

A major focus of the Summit’s call for action addresses the need for personal attention to health care in African Americans and recognizes the need to educate communities in a manner with culturally relevant and health literate messages reach the target population. The report seeks to motivate individuals and families to replace unhealthy lifestyles with behaviors that support longevity.

A list of the participating organizations and a copy of the Summit report is available at http://www.nmanet.org.

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Founded in 1895, the National Medical Association (NMA) is the nation’s oldest and largest medical association representing the interests of more than 35,000 African American physicians and their patients. The NMA repeatedly advocates for policies that would assure equitable and quality health care for all people.

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Carla Welborn

Carla Welborn
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