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Connect Observes National Minority Health Month

Round graphic that displays 5 social determinants of health domains

Healthy People 2030, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Did You Know?

April was National Minority Health Month. This year’s theme- Be the Source for Better Health: Improving Health Outcomes Through Our Cultures, Communities, and Connections- is about understanding how the unique environments, cultures, histories, and circumstances (known as social determinants of health, or SDOH) of racial and ethnic minority and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations impact their overall health. 

SDOH affect a range of health risks and quality of life factors. Factors like poverty, limited access to health care, lack of education, and racism are all examples of individual SDOH that can contribute to health disparities and inequities. Health disparities are defined as preventable differences in disease outcomes that are experienced by certain communities. Inequities are unequal and unfair health outcomes among certain populations. Health disparities and inequities are directly related to historical and present ways that social, political, economic, and environmental resources are distributed. While promoting healthy choices is important, it is not enough to eliminate health disparities.

To better understand health disparities and inequities that affect racial and ethnic minority and AI/AN populations, Connect will study the conditions in our environments that shape our lives. Considering the factors that shape who we are- such as where we are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and grow old- is key to improving health for racial and ethnic minority and AI/AN populations. 

SDOH can be organized into five domains: 

  1. Economic Stability 

  1. Education Access and Quality 

  1. Health Care Access and Quality 

  1. Neighborhood and Built Environment 

  1. Social and Community Context 

Thinking about these domains, you may reflect on how each has personally shaped your experiences, health, and quality of life. The relationships between SDOH and health disparities and inequities are complex. Many health disparities affecting racial and ethnic minority and AI/AN populations are often the result of or made more severe by SDOH factors. By studying SDOH in the context of environmental factors, we can identify ways to improve health equity and reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic minority and AI/AN populations. 

Resources For Better Health For All Communities

Recruiting a diverse population is a major goal of Connect. We aim to build one of the most diverse national cohort studies in the U.S. with a focus on studying the causes of cancer to help address health differences and cancer disparities. Including diverse people in research will help to identify solutions that are relevant to all communities. 

 As a Connect participant, you are representing your loved ones and your community in impactful cancer research. Connect aims to collect information on SDOH from participants so we can better understand how SDOH may affect cancer risk. Your participation may help researchers to uncover the causes of cancer so we can better prevent, detect, and treat it in the future.  

Visit MyConnect today to complete your study activities and share our website - cancer.gov/connectstudy – to encourage others to learn more about this cutting edge study.  

 If you’re interested in learning more about the Healthy People framework and Health and Human Services efforts to improve health equity, visit Healthy People 2030

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