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Organization Supports Work of Federal and Community Leaders to Reduce Health Disparities

New York, NY — In recognition of National Minority Health Month, Planned Parenthood encourages communities to work together toward the full realization of health equity for people of color. National Minority Health Month is an annual nationwide community mobilization campaign in April, which highlights the fact that many in the African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities experience severe health disparities. Planned Parenthood promotes efforts this month, and every month of the year, to raise awareness of the health needs in these communities, and work with community leaders to help reduce barriers in accessing health care.

“The top priority of all Planned Parenthood health centers is to provide communities with the quality, affordable health care that everyone deserves,” said Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood Federation of America president. “When folks work together to ensure that people are truly cared for, their lives, their families, and their communities are better and healthier. Planned Parenthood is committed to working in communities with leaders across the country to inform people about their health care options, listen to their needs, and break down barriers in accessing that care.”

This year also marks the 30th Anniversary of the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health, the first convening of government health experts to conduct a comprehensive report on the state of minority health. These efforts were led by former HHS Secretary Margaret Heckler.

Many communities of color face greater obstacles to obtaining and benefiting from health care services than non-Latino whites, with some communities having the greatest need for preventive health care like lifesaving cancer screenings, testing and treatment for STDs, Pap tests, and health education. For example:

  • Among women diagnosed with breast cancer, African American women are most likely to die from the disease.
  • American Indian/Native Americans have a higher rate of diagnoses of HIV infection than whites, and four times the rate of chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Cancer has been the number one killer of Asian American women since 1980.
  • American Samoan women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with, and to die from, cervical cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic whites.
  • Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Latinas. Even when diagnosed at similar ages and stages and with similar tumor characteristics, Latinas are more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Latina white women.

National Minority Cancer Awareness Week (April 12-19) falls within National Minority Health Month, and is aimed at drawing attention to the disproportionately severe impact cancer has on communities of color. Planned Parenthood health centers provide over 900,000 cancer screenings and prevention services each year, including nearly 400,000 Pap tests, nearly 500,000 lifesaving breast exams — screenings to 88,000 women whose cancer was detected early or whose abnormalities were identified and addressed.

“Planned Parenthood works every day for healthy families, healthy babies, and healthy communities across the country,” said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, Planned Parenthood Federation of America vice president of external medical affairs. “We’re proud to be part of this important work, especially when it comes to cancer prevention. We are committed to working with communities of color during National Minority Cancer Awareness Week — and every week — to detect cancer early, which helps save lives.”

Planned Parenthood health centers see 2.7 million women, men, and young people each year, more than one-third of whom are people of color. Every day, across the country, Planned Parenthood provides affordable, quality preventive health care including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, testing and treatment for STDs, breast health services, Pap tests, and accurate, nonjudgmental sexual health education and information — no matter what.

For more information about Planned Parenthood health services, or to schedule an appointment at the health center nearest you, visit www.plannedparenthood.org.


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Planned Parenthood Federation of America


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April 01, 2015