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NYSDOH AIDS Institute African American Symposium

Moving Beyond Health Disparity & Achieving Health Equity: From Strategy to Action

February 9, 2012 - The Graduate Center, The City University of New York

Health disparities are deep and pervasive in New York State, as they are in almost every state in the nation. African Americans, as racial and ethnic minority group, are disproportionately more likely to experience lower incomes, live in underserved communities, and have poorer health outcomes from birth to death. Across the lifespan, they suffer higher rates of disease and disability.

As is the case in other states, health disparities in New York State often occur along the lines of race, ethnicity, nativity, language ability, socioeconomic status, and geography, among other factors. Some racial and ethnic minority groups consistently experience poor health relative to majority-group New Yorkers:

  • African American and Hispanic New Yorkers die prematurely at rates nearly twice that of white New Yorkers1.
  • African American New York State residents experienced rates of infant mortality that were nearly 2.5 times higher than those of whites and Hispanics, and over three times higher than those of whites and Hispanics, and over three times higher than those of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders2.
  • Statewide, African Americans experience HIV/AIDS mortality rates that are 13 times higher than those of whites, and Hispanics face HIV/AIDS mortality rates that are seven times higher than those of whites3.
  • Between 1995 and 2004, African Americans experienced asthma mortality rates that were over 3.5 and 4 times higher than those of whites4.
  • Cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in New York State, disproportionately claimed lives among African Americans (289 deaths per 100,000)5.

The NYSDOH AIDS Institute believes that the wide gaps in minority health can be reduced through collaboration with the medical and public health communities, corporate entities, academia, elected officials, consumers, advocacy organizations and others through cooperative planning, networking and action. The Symposium will convene and engage over 200 individuals from New York State who are actively involved in health equity initiatives and/or committed to addressing health disparities in their communities.

Purpose and Goals

The purpose of the symposium is to address racial and ethnic health disparities within African American communities in New York State. The goals of the symposium are to:

  • Learn about health inequities, their root causes, and effective service models to address them;
  • Obtain input from participants to formulate specific program and policy recommendations that will address racial and ethnic health disparities;
  • Understand and apply specific tools that can aid in addressing health inequities in New York State; and
  • Encourage the establishment of collaborative partnerships among symposium participants for the subsequent development and implementation of Community Action Plans that will assist in the reduction of racial and ethnic health disparities.

1-5Smedley B. (2009). "Moving Toward Health Equity in New York: State Strategies to Eliminate Health Disparities". A Report for the Minority Health Council, New York State Department of Health: pp.3-5.