DearColleague.us

Letter

Eleanor Holmes Norton

From the office of:

Eleanor Holmes Norton

 

From: The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton
Sent By:
Jason.Spear@mail.house.gov

Date: 10/31/2016

Current cosigners:  Eleanor Holmes Norton, Barbara Lee, Hank Johnson, Terri Sewell, Nydia Velazque, Tony Cárdenas, Elijah E. Cummings, Gwen Moore, Grace Napolitano, Donald Payne, Brenda Lawrence, Yvette Clarke,
G. K. Butterfield, Maxine Waters, and Keith Ellison

Dear Colleague,

Please join me in cosigning a letter to Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro in support of funding for critical minority health programs in the final fiscal year 2017 spending bill.

There are several programs and agencies that address the critical health disparities in our communities and across the country.  It is critical that these programs receive adequate funding to help eliminate the serious effects of ethnic and geographic health
disparities.  Furthermore, funding these minority health programs shows our commitment to professionals who are willing to return to underserved communities to practice medicine and other healthcare services.

If you have any questions or would like to cosign, please contact Jason Spear in my office at
Jason.Spear@mail.house.gov or x5-8050.  The deadline to sign is
COB Wednesday, November 2nd.

 

Sincerely,

Eleanor Holmes Norton

Member of Congress

 

 

The Honorable Tom Cole                                                              The Honorable Rosa DeLauro

Chairman                                                                                       Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Labor, HHS,                                                     Subcommittee on Labor, HHS,

Education and Related Agencies                                                  Education and Related Agencies

Committee on Appropriations                                                         Committee on Appropriations

U.S. House of Representatives                                                       U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515                                                                   Washington, DC 20515

 

 

 

As Congress begins negotiating a final spending bill for fiscal year 2017, we strongly urge you to support funding for critical programs that address ethnic and racial health disparities by improving diversity in the healthcare workforce and increasing the
number of health professionals in underserved communities.  The cost of health disparities is high, and credible estimates indicate that health disparities cost our nation as much as $300 billion a year, resulting in many Americans suffering unnecessarily
because they do not have access to the care they need.
For example, African Americans are 9 times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than non-Hispanic Whites and suffer the greatest burden of each of the most common types of cancer.  African Americans are 30 percent more likely to die of heart disease and
60 percent more likely to be diabetic than white Americans.  Latinos are 6 times more likely to be diagnosed with Tuberculosis, 45 percent more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer, 65 percent more likely to be diabetic and 45 percent more likely to
die from diabetes than non-Hispanic Whites. Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders have disproportionately high rates of Hepatitis B. Studies have shown that, when compared to urban communities, rural residents are often older, poorer, and experience extended
waits for emergency personnel to respond. Additionally, this inequality is intensified as rural residents are less likely to have access to physicians, and do not have health insurance.

 

These alarming statistics illustrate the increased need to address health disparities, both ethnically and geographically. We believe the United States must continue to invest in the programs and agencies that have shown unwavering commitment to addressing
the critical health disparities in our communities and across the country, including:

 

Agency/Program President’s Request

(FY 17)

Senate

(FY 17)

House

(FY 17)

Our Request

(FY 17)

Minority Centers of Excellence (COE) $21,711,000 $21,711,000 $21,711,000 $21,711,000
Health Careers Opportunities  Program (HCOP) $14,189,000 $0 $0 $14,189,000
Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) $49,070,000 $49,070,000 $45,970,000 $49,070,000
Minority Faculty Loan Repayment Program $1,190,000 $1,190,000 $1,190,000 $1,190,000
Area Health Education Centers $30,250,000 $30,250,000 $30,250,000 $40,000,000
Ryan White HIV Funding $2,297,781,000 $2,293,781,000 $2,322,781,000 $2,293,781,000
HHS Office of Minority Health $56,670,000 $50,000,000 $56,670,000 $56,670,000
HHS Office of Minority HIV/AIDS $53,900,000 $48,000,000 $48,000,000 $53,900,000
NIH National Cancer Institute $5,097,287,000 $5,429,769,000 $5,338,000,000 $5,429,769,000
NIH National Institute on Minority Health and Heath Disparities $279,680,000 $292,323,000 $292,323,000 $292,323,000
Research Centers at Minority Institutions N/A N/A $58,177,388 $20,000,000
Center for Disease Control (CDC) REACH program $30,000,000 $0 $30,000,000 $30,000,000
Historically Black Graduate Institutions at DOE $85,000,000 $63,281,000 $63,300,000 $85,000,000

 

All of the above programs and agencies were fully funded in either the House and/or Senate fiscal year 2017 bill, except the Health Careers Opportunities Program (HCOP).

 

Since its inception, HCOP has prepared individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds for the rigors of a health professions education. Additionally, HCOP emphasizes specific entry points along a health careers “pipeline” that begin in the latter years of high
school, while placing increased attention on evidence-informed approaches. HCOP awardees leverage existing and new partnerships, while strengthening public-private partnerships to support the education, training, and community-based placement of health professions
students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minority students, who are underrepresented among health professionals.

 

During the 2013-2014 Academic Year, HCOP supported over 260 training programs and activities that included more than 13,600 trainees across the country at academic institutions, hospitals, and community health centers.  Twenty-four percent of trainees identified
as Hispanic; 23 percent identified as Black or African American; less than one percent identified as Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 2 percent identified as American Indian or Alaska Native.  Overall, approximately 50 percent of all trainees
who participated in the HCOP training programs and activities are considered underrepresented minorities in the health professions, and approximately 77 percent of trainees identify as coming from a financially and/or educationally disadvantaged background.

 

We urge you fund the HCOP program at $14.189 million as well as to fund the remaining programs at the requested amounts. We urge that all programs mentioned above receive the necessary funding to combat the serious effects of ethnic and geographic health
disparities. By investing in these programs and the individuals enrolled in them today, we can continue to improve health outcomes while saving in the future.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Eleanor Holmes Norton                     Barbara Lee                            Henry “Hank” Johnson

Member of Congress                          Member of Congress              Member of Congress