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Minority Health Month looking to the future

Organizers of local activities that are scheduled to be a part of Minority Health Month say they are looking to help promote health-centered discussions, habits and practices that members of the community can use all year round, not just during April.

Those are crucial components to remember not just this month, but all year long.

According to the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, the goals of the month have remained the same since the recognition was established in 1989. Those are to provide information that will allow individuals to practice disease prevention, promote healthy lifestyles, showcase providers of grassroots health care resources and information, highlight the disparate health conditions between minority and non-minority populations and gain support for efforts to improve minority health year-round.

While maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, there are some sobering statistics that highlight the importance of reaching out to minority populations.

For example, the death rate for African-Americans is generally higher than whites for heart diseases, stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza and pneumonia, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and homicide, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.

Locally, this year’s theme is “The State of Minority Health.” Activities will include a multi-part virtual health series that will continue at 7 p.m. the next three Fridays and which can be found at the Facebook page of Urban Mission Ministries.

In-person events include a mammogram screening and health fair for women 40 and older from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 23 at the Tiffany Breast Care Center Mobile Unit, which will be stationed at Urban Mission’s Fresh Market Pantry located at 311 N. Sixth St., Steubenville; and a free men’s prostate screening from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 27 at the Tony Teramana Cancer Center, 3204 Johnson Road, Steubenville.

“It is imperative that minorities begin to play a proactive, not reactive, role in their health. Our goal through this year’s observance is to provide the information, tools and resources to ‘prevent the fire,'” said Cynthia Lytle, program and community development director for the Urban Mission.

That’s a good philosophy to embrace today, tomorrow and every day in the future.

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