“Active and Healthy” Minority Health Month Comes to a Close

Panelists at the minority health discussion held on April 17. From left to right: Erika Ferguson, director of Healthy Opportunities at DHHS; Tonya Daniel, certified childbirth educator and doula with DHHS’ Division of Public Health (DPH); and Sherod Holloway, fatherhood coordinator with DPH.

Panelists at the minority health discussion held on April 17. From left to right: Erika Ferguson, director of Healthy Opportunities at DHHS; Tonya Daniel, certified childbirth educator and doula with DHHS’ Division of Public Health (DPH); and Sherod Holloway, fatherhood coordinator with DPH.

April 30, 2019 – April was Minority Health Month and DHHS noted the observance with activities throughout the month. 

The theme was “Active and Healthy.” DHHS and its Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities highlighted the important role an active lifestyle plays in improving health and wellness, as well as the barriers that many in North Carolina’s minority and underserved communities face in accessing healthy foods, quality health care parks and other settings that promote exercise. 

The Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities hosted three discussions about minority health during April. Two events were “Lunch and Learns” on the Division of Public Health campus in Raleigh that spotlighted leaders in the field. The events celebrated the work and service of Regina Petteway, director of Wake County Human Services, and Goldie Byrd, a professor and director of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest School of Medicine.  

The office also held their second “Chat and Chew” discussion of the year at the main DHHS administration building in Raleigh, with the topic of embracing the whole family. Panelists discussed rethinking current approaches to health, wellbeing and families and how DHHS should think about the health of families in our work. 

“What other way can we get information out to them to empower them, and for them to know what is going on with their bodies?” said Tonya Daniel, a certified childbirth educator and doula with DHHS’ Division of Public Health. “What’s going on with their health? What’s going on in their environments as far as if they need jobs or education? Being able to fill those gaps, that’s one of the ways we build trust.”   

DHHS also shared social media posts throughout the month on the work of the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities and the past and present efforts of others in improving minority health in North Carolina. 

The mission of the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities is to promote and advocate for the elimination of health disparities among all racial and ethnic and minorities and other undeserved populations in North Carolina. 

North Carolina has become increasingly diverse over the last 20 years. Racial and ethnic minority populations have increased from approximately 25 percent of the state’s population in 2000 to 36 percent, and the state is projected to be even more diverse in coming decades. Yet, historic and current policies and practices have created barriers for North Carolina’s minority communities to access quality health care, nutritious food and achieve good overall health. 

Author: 
Gretchen Kalar