Native American Heritage Month a chance to highlight, address health inequities

Date: Nov 09 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Media Relations 

The American Public Health Association joins in celebrating and recognizing Native American Heritage Month, which commemorates the rich heritage, diverse cultural traditions and broad contributions of Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians.

“This month, we come together to celebrate Native American contributions, cultures, histories and traditions,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “It’s also an opportunity to raise awareness about disparities in health outcomes and access to care, and highlight promising, community-driven strategies to close those gaps.”

According to the Indian Health Service, American Indian and Alaska Native people have long experienced poorer health outcomes compared to other Americans, including higher mortality related to chronic disease and lower life expectancy. Social determinants of health, such as disproportionate poverty rates and discrimination in the delivery of health services, are key contributors.

Studies show that American Indian and Alaska Native people are among the racial and ethnic minority groups at higher risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is a time to contemplate what has been done and what can be done to provide the change needed to help improve the health of Native populations,” said Benjamin.

For more information and resources, visit CDC

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The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at www.apha.org.