Statement From Acting Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald On Black History Month

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 2, 2023) - “As we celebrate Black History Month, the New York State Department of Health is doubling down on our commitment to promoting policies and programs that advance health equity and remove barriers to improving health outcomes for Black communities.

Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, the Department is enacting transformative change to reduce barriers to care and eliminate inequities surrounding Black communities, which are frequently disproportionately affected by greater rates of preventable conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and maternal mortality. Examples include our investment in diversifying the physician workforce, increased cancer screening in underserved communities, and a focus on maternal health.

I urge all those in public health to not only celebrate and reflect during Black History Month, but also accept this as a call to action to help reduce health disparities faced by Black communities. Social determinants of health such as a lack of access to health care impact the well-being and lifespan of Black people, not only in New York but nationally.

Black History Month is a time to recognize the adversity that Black Americans have faced and overcome throughout history and to celebrate their numerous contributions to our country, while also keeping in mind that each of us has a vital role to play in putting an end to the health inequalities and injustices that many Black Americans experience on a daily basis.”