Although we should strive for health equality all year long, April is Minority Health Month and it’s a time when we should pay special attention to our efforts at promoting access to health care resources for all ethnic and racial groups.
Not only will it improve the health of these groups, which studies show have more difficulty accessing health care, but these special efforts can improve your patient census as more members of minority groups connect with you, the agency that took the time to reach out to them.
- Start by visiting the website of the Office of Minority Health. Take the time to learn about health equity and minority outreach. Commit to reaching a broader section of your community. You can find great tool kits on the issue here and here.
- Reach out and partner with groups that serve your community’s minority markets. These include community health centers, charitable organizations, chambers of commerce, church groups, and groups that work with migrant populations. Offer to help educate the groups they serve about various health issues that impact them.
- Build your agency’s library of Spanish-language educational materials. Start by visiting the National Network of Libraries of Medicine for a varied selection of health topics in Spanish. You can also find Spanish materials personalized to your agency, including brochures, health logs and helpful zone flyers. Arrange to have some of your materials displayed at health clinics that serve large Hispanic populations.
- Get involved in Kidney Sundays, an effort of the National Kidney Disease Education Program. Kidney Sundays aims to educate the attendees of primarily African American churches about kidney disease. After all, although African Americans make up only about 13 percent of the population, about 32 percent of U.S. cases of kidney failure are in African Americans. Download a free Kidney Sundays toolkit and then contact local African American churches to discuss ways you can help educate their congregations about the disease. Distribute agency flyers on kidney disease to those you encounter at your Kidney Sundays event.
- Contact minority patients you have served and their families. Ask them to provide testimonials about the care they received from your agency. Use these testimonials in your marketing materials and future promotions to highlight your agency’s inclusiveness.
- Recognize the health disparities in heart disease and then take action. A toolkit to begin a heart health program can be found at the website of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Don’t forget to stock up on your agency’s heart disease-related brochures to aid in your outreach efforts.