February is Black History Month

State Health Department to Host Public Symposium on Health Disparities Among African Americans

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 8, 2012) – As part of the observance of Black History Month, the New York State Health Department will be hosting a public symposium to discuss health disparities among African-American communities and efforts to reduce and eliminate disparities in New York.

The symposium, "Moving Beyond Health Disparity and Achieving Health Equity: From Strategy To Action," is being coordinated by the State Health Department's AIDS Institute. It will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on February 9, 2012 at the Graduate Center, City University of New York which is located at 365 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. More than 200 individuals actively involved in developing and promoting health equity initiatives to address health disparities in local communities are scheduled to participate in the forum.

"As we celebrate the great achievements of black men and women, we must also recognize that serious health disparities still exist and need to be addressed," Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., said. "This symposium will promote constructive dialogue and action to implement effective strategies to improve the health and lives of African Americans across our State."

The symposium is a collaboration among the State Health Department and federal, State and local partners working together to reduce or eliminate disparities in areas such as HIV/AIDS, premature deaths, infant mortality and other issues that adversely affect African Americans. A major priority of the symposium is to encourage the development and implementation of community action planning.

Health disparities in New York State, like most other states, often occur along the lines of race, ethnicity, nativity, language ability, socioeconomic status, and/or geography, among other factors. Racial and ethnic minority groups consistently experience poor health relative to majority-group New Yorkers.

The State Health Department is working to reduce the wide gaps in minority health through cooperative planning, networking and activities as part of a collaborative effort with the medical and public health communities, corporate entities, academia, elected officials, consumers, advocacy organizations, and other stakeholders.