DearColleague.us

Letter

 

From: The Honorable Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.
Sent By:
meghan.wicker@mail.house.gov

Date: 3/31/2017

Support FY 2018 Funding to Help End Ethnic and Racial Health Disparities

Deadline: April 4, 2017

Dear Colleague.

Please join me in support of critical federal programs that address ethnic and racial health disparities. We cannot afford dramatic domestic spending cuts for fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018)
that will prevent our country from improving the health of all citizens.

Programs like the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) and Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) have a positive impact, training and developing health professionals that will practice
where they are needed the most — in underserved rural and urban communities. The Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH) identifies health disparities issues and coordinates with other offices of minority health to achieve cost-effective
solutions.

If these and other programs are not supported in the FY 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, it will hamper our nation’s healthcare
workforce diversity efforts and ability to eliminate health disparities from racial and ethnic groups as well as health disparities that adversely affect citizens depending on where they live.

I urge you to sign the letter below to Chairman Tom Cole and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro of the LHHS Subcommittee to protect these critical programs.

Please join me in support of addressing ethnic and racial health disparities by signing this important letter. Please contact Arya Hariharan at
arya.hariharan@mail.house.gov or 202-225-1605 if you would like to sign on to this letter or have additional questions.

Sincerely,

Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. 
Member of Congress

March 31, 2017

The Honorable Tom Cole
Chairman
Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
The Honorable Rosa DeLauro
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro:

When considering the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and related agencies appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018), we strongly urge you to support
funding for programs designed to improve minority and racial health disparities- a prevalent problem throughout our country. Not only are health disparities preventable and unjust, but they are also estimated to cost as much as $300 billion a year. At the
very least, we must continue to improve the health of our citizens by fully funding our previous FY 2017 request of $567 million.

As our nation continues to diversify, it is important that we address the widening array of health issues associated with this changing dynamic. Across all groups, minorities are more likely
to be exposed to geographical and socioeconomic factors that increase the risk of preventable, chronic disorders. For instance, African-Americans are more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to be diagnosed with HIV. Similarly, Hispanics are more likely to be
diagnosed with diabetes, and Asian-Americans suffer from higher rates of Hepatitis B. Disproportionate trends of multiple diseases and disorders are seen throughout all minority groups. We cannot allow these disparities to persist.  For these reasons, we need
to allot funding for specific research and care to target these population-based problems.

Ethnic and racial health disparity funding will go (1) increasing healthcare workplace diversity, (2) improving minority health research, and (3) investing in preventative health services.
Therefore, we are asking for, at the minimum, $302 million to continue to invest in National Institute of Health (NIH) research that helps establish the scientific basis for these disparities, so that they can be minimized and prevented all together. Additionally,
our request for $150 million for health education and workplace diversity programs is a proven method for producing professionals focused on improving minority health disparities. Finally, our $115 million funding request for strategic programs and services
helps prevent these disparities before they begin by funding the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) REACH program, Office of Minority Health, and the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Overall, this funding request is specific and targeted,
which will allow it to be quickly implemented to its fullest extent by reputable health organizations, such as the CDC and NIH. A full breakdown of our request is as follows:

  • Strong funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) including $302 million for the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities;
  • $25 million for the Minority Centers of Excellence program at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA);
  • $20 million for the Health Careers Opportunity Program at HRSA;
  • $40 million for the Area Health Education Centers program at HRSA;
  • $65 million for Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions (HBGI) program at the Department of Education;
  • $50 million for the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
  • $65 million for the Office of Minority Health at the Department of Health & Human Services; and
  • Ensuring that funding of the Public Health and Prevention Fund is used for programs it was intended to assist, such as cardiovascular/stroke prevention through Million Hearts

In order to best improve the health of all of our citizens, we need to invest in programs that address minority and racial health disparities.  We hope you join us in addressing these harmful
disparities so we can stop America’s harmful health gap from widening further.

Sincerely,

 

_________________________

XXX

Member of Congress