This month, we observe National Health Disparities Month. It’s a time to heighten awareness about our progress in improving the health of Americans nationwide. It’s also a time to think about the work that still remains to create an America in which all people have equal opportunity to live long, healthy, and productive lives.
Thanks to evolving technologies and medical advances, more Americans than ever before can expect to enjoy longer and healthier lives. According to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, the average life expectancy in the U.S. has climbed to 78.8 years—a record high.
But there is still much to be done. While it is true that during the past 25 years, U.S. life expectancy has increased, we are not keeping pace with other developed, industrialized countries.
At the same time our population is becoming increasingly diverse:
- By 2050, the racial and ethnic populations in America will surpass 50 percent, according to the latest U.S. Census figures.
- The population speaking a language other than English at home increased by 140 percent during the past three decades.
- Today, more than 20 million Americans speak poor English, and 10 million speak none.
- More than 300 languages are spoken in America.
Health disparities are still greatest in various racial and ethnic U.S. populations. Equal health access—especially in these populations—is still elusive. In September 2010, the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law, bringing greater access to health insurance coverage to more than 30 million people. The new law and continuing efforts of public health advocates and organizations, including the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities and the American Public Health Association, will help make a difference in reducing health disparities and improving our quality of life.
At Circle Solutions, we are committed to helping reduce health disparities and improving the quality of life for everyone. We have worked side-by-side with our Federal health partners to help achieve this critical goal since our founding in 1980. Circle’s work for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in health disparities research led to development of the “very-easy-to-read” English and Spanish versions of the Be Active When You Have Diabetes booklet and flipchart.
Eliminating health disparities is about more than progress and change. It’s also about more than facing challenges, solutions, and closing critical gaps. Eliminating health disparities is a core value, rooted in our hearts and minds—part of the very fabric of families, communities, villages, rural towns, and tribes across America.