ST. PAUL, Minn. (March 27, 2014) — Last Friday, State Rep. Rena Moran (DFL-65A) joined members from several councils calling for public hearings to address the “Advancing Health Equity in Minnesota Report” released by the Minnesota Department of Health in February.
“Minnesota is often recognized as one of the healthiest states in the nation,” Moran said. “This report shows that not all Minnesotans have the equal opportunity to live healthy lives – many people of color suffer from racial inequities on a daily basis that affect their health.”
Oftentimes, decisions are made and new laws and regulations are implemented without accounting for how they may benefit one population more than another or when some populations are excluded altogether. Whether unintentional or not, these policies can reinforce existing inequities among communities of color. The groups that experience the greatest disparities in health outcomes also experience the greatest social and economic which are strong predictors of health.
“Our communities of color are falling farther and farther behind, both socially and economically,” Moran said. “When groups face serious social and economic challenges, their health is put at risk. It’s time to advance health equity for all Minnesotans.”
The Minnesota Department of Health’s report – released in February – outlines several recommended approaches to address health disparities and health inequities in Minnesota:
• Advance health equity through a health in all policies approach across all sectors
• Strengthen the collection, analysis and use of date to advance health equity.
• Provide statewide leadership for advancing health equity
• Strengthen community relationships and partnerships to advance health equity
• Redesign the Minnesota Department of Health grant-making to advance health equity
• Emphasize health equity throughout the Minnesota Department of Health
• Continue practices that currently are working to advance health equity
Rep. Moran is the author of a bill to address the health disparities in minority populations. This bill would provide collaborative mental health services to minority residents; provide collaborative, holistic, and culturally competent health care services in communities with high concentrations of minority residents; and collaborate on recruitment, training, and placement of minorities with health care providers.
Two task forces would be created to tackle the issues that lead to health inequities among communities of color in Minnesota. The bill would provide grants to community based organizations to address health inequities for minority women and to provide culturally specific services to improve women’s access to health care.
The bill was voted out of the Health and Human Services Policy Committee and Government Operations Committee earlier this month and currently awaits a hearing in Health and Human Services Finance.