HARRISBURG, PA — State Rep. Donna Bullock, chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, along with PLBC members Reps. Stephen Kinsey, Patty Kim and Manuel Guzman, have introduced a resolution that would recognize April 2022 as National Minority Health Month in Pennsylvania.
The resolution was spurred by National Minority Health Week, which was inspired by the creation of National Negro Health Week in 1915 by Booker T. Washington and the U.S. Public Health Service. The focus was to improve the overall health status of Black Americans and to encourage Black professionals to join the medical field.
National Negro Health Week then grew into the National Negro Health Movement to educate the public about continuing health disparities year-round. The U.S. Public Health Service then published National Negro Health News to update on activities of the movement and publish reports on Black health in America.
The theme for 2022 is Give Your Community a Boost, which supports the CDC’s recommendation of the Covid-19 vaccine and booster shot as a means to combat the global pandemic.
“Minorities are significantly more at risk for both terminal and treatable illnesses,” Bullock said. “But because many do not have access to affordable health care or insurance, the life-saving power of early detection by a primary care physician is hardly ever obtainable. These health disparities were exposed during and because of the recent pandemic.”
The measure seeks to raise awareness and urge movement on bills for things like health equity, Black maternal health and disease awareness.
“We continue to seek codification of the Office of Health Equity, which would help define health disparities and equity,” Bullock said. “When we look further into the lapse in access and equity for people of color, particularly in the Black community, we are able to move forward to remedy unfair and avoidable differences in health among those populations. We will continue to push legislation that addresses this in all areas. In National Minority Health Month, we are highlighting this movement to raise awareness. But the work does not stop after April.”