National Minority Health Month 2024 - Be the Source for Better Health

The 2024 theme, Be the Source for Better Health, emphasizes how unique social determinants of health impact the overall health of racial and ethnic minorities.

Helpful Highlights

  • National Minority Health Month is recognized in April of every year.

  • The theme for 2024 is Be the Source for Better Health.

  • The thematic key messages for 2024 are related to social determinants of health (SDOH): take action, convene, consider, commit, and collaborate to improve the health of communities and the nation.

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What it is

The foundation for National Minority Health Month was laid by educator, author, and civil rights leader Booker T. Washington, who established National Negro Health Week (NNHW) in 1915. NNHW was recognized from 1915 to 1951 and formed the basis for many of the health-focused observances we celebrate today.

This annual observance builds awareness about the health disparities that persist among racial and ethnic minority and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations and encourages everyone to take action to end these inequities.

The theme for 2024 is Be the Source for Better Health: Improving Health Outcomes Through Our Cultures, Communities, and Connections.

Be the Source for Better Health

This year's theme is about understanding how the unique environments, cultures, histories, and circumstances (known as social determinants of health, or SDOH) of racial and ethnic minority and AI/AN populations impact their overall health.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) is committed to working with public health and community-based partners to Be the Source for Better Health by providing quality, equitable, and respectful care and services that are responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, economic and environmental circumstances, and health literacy levels. When people are provided with culturally and linguistically appropriate healthcare information, they are better able to create healthier outcomes for themselves, their families, and their communities.

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (OASH) joins HHS and OMH by also raising awareness about minority health, as well as that of alcohol use and misuse, and through celebrating public health.

Social determinants of health (SDOH)

Social determinants of health (SDOH) impact nearly everyone in one way or another, and simply promoting healthy choices won’t eliminate health disparities. Non-medical factors like poverty, limited access to health care, lack of education, and racism are all examples of individual SDOH that contribute to health disparities and inequities.

SDOH can be grouped into five domains:

  1. Economic Stability

  2. Education Access and Quality

  3. Health Care Access and Quality

  4. Neighborhood and Built Environment

  5. Social and Community Context

The relationship between SDOH and health disparities and inequities is complex and multilayered. Many health disparities affecting racial and ethnic minorities and AI/AN people are often the result of or exacerbated by multiple SDOH factors. By addressing SDOH through a comprehensive approach, we can work to advance health equity and reduce health disparities among vulnerable populations.

Key messages

Take Action. Public health and community-based organizations can take steps to improve the health of their communities by addressing SDOH. Organizations can leverage these steps, adapted from guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to Be the Source for Better Health in your communities:

Convene. Bring together members of your community and trusted organizations to identify concerns specific to your community.

Consider. Collect and utilize multiple sources of data and information, including public health data, to help develop strategies that can benefit you and your community.

Commit. Committing to providing Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) is one way to help eliminate health inequities. Effective, equitable, and respectful care and services that are responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, economic and environmental circumstances, and health literacy levels are essential to close the gap in health outcomes for racial and ethnic minority populations.

Collaborate. Work with trusted partners to address the impact of SDOH on vulnerable populations and to find innovative solutions that can be put into action. Mobilize partners to develop and implement strategies addressing health disparities and long-standing inequities.

Use social media. Participate in conversations about health equity on social media by tagging @MinorityHealth on X (Twitter), Facebook, and Instagram and using the hashtags, #SourceForBetterHealth, #MinorityHealth, and #NMHM24.

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