Minority Health Month
6:28 pm
Sat April 6, 2013

Working to Ensure Health Equity

Activists believe there continue to be healthcare disparities that impact racial and ethnic minorities.

But Byron Oden-Shabazz, intern for the Western Illinois University Center for the Studies of Masculinities and Men’s Development, said studies have shown two-thirds of Americans are unaware of the disparities.

 Byron Oden-Shabazz
Byron Oden-Shabazz
Credit Rich Egger

“If we are going to have a healthy healthcare system, we (must) learn how to treat all people,” said Oden-Shabazz.

“For whatever the reason, whites seem to have better outcomes. So now we can look and see what is happening among the white population that’s not happening in the minority population.”

He said diabetes is a major healthcare problem among Latinos, while hypertension, heart attacks, and obesity are among the problems plaguing African-Americans.

April is national Minority Health Month. Oden-Shabazz is using the occasion to promote minority health issues, though he added there should be an emphasis placed on healthcare year-round.

“We have to try to get people moving and get them involved,” said Oden-Shabazz, though he acknowledged it’s not always easy to find time when trying to balance the demands of family and work.

“If we educate people about some of the simple things they can do at home, in the convenience of 15 to 30 minutes every day, I think those are the things that will get people moving.”

He hoped to use the month to begin teaching people about what they can do.

WIU is hosting a number of events during April in conjunction with Minority Health Month. The keynote speaker will be Linda Rae Murray, Chief Medical Officer, Cook County Department of Public Health. Her presentation is scheduled for Tuesday, April 23, 6:00 pm in the University Union Sandburg Lounge.