HHS and ABC Radio Launch Outreach Campaign to Address Racial Disparities
Addressing the "massive" health disparities faced by African Americans, HHS on Thursday announced a new campaign to encourage African Americans to visit the doctor, the AP/South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. The "Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day" campaign, co-sponsored by ABC Radio Networks, will "mobiliz[e] the black community to step into doctors' offices," on Sept. 24 (Meckler, AP/South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4/18). The day is part of the ongoing "Closing the Health Gap" program, which provides health information to the African-American community. HHS is encouraging fraternal, social, religious, health and community groups to hold screenings, health fairs and other promotional events in conjunction with the day. ABC Radio's Tom Joyner, host of the nationally syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show," will co-chair the campaign. Joyner, whose show is heard daily on 119 ABC radio stations and on American Forces Radio stations, said, "'Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day' is a call to action to not only take care of ourselves, but to take care of the people we love," adding, "Everyone knows someone [who] would benefit from a trip to the doctor" (HHS release, 4/18). The campaign follows several studies released in the last month that have highlighted "huge disparities" in care for African Americans, including an Institute of Medicine report that found unequal care even when income, insurance status, age and severity of disease were controlled. Marsha Lillie-Blanton, who oversees minority health issues for the Kaiser Family Foundation, said, "Getting in the door of the health care system is important. Given the conditions people of color live under, they need to have a trusted health care provider they can turn to" (AP/South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4/18).