As we come to the end of Minority Health Month, a time in which disparities in outcomes and life expectancy are often-discussed and top of mind, it is imperative to continue the focus and attention on these matters throughout the year. Advancements in minority health will not be accomplished through snapshots or point solutions. Rather, success will be a longitudinal journey with opportunities for incremental improvements and micro wins based on small, yet sustained changes in our daily, weekly, and monthly routines. This includes establishing with a local primary care team, being seen regularly, knowing your numbers and gaining a sense of health empowerment.
As the important work of advocacy for access to affordable healthcare continues, a corresponding spirit of individual ownership will amplify policy endeavors. Improving minority health outcomes will be possible when all stakeholders acknowledge the reality of the data (both historical and real time), accept accountability for the fact that certain risk factors are related to personal choices, thus modifiable, and take decisive, yet consistent, action with incremental changes from government and systems levels all the way down to the kitchen table.
- Umar Bowers, MD