African American Health| African Americans are at an increased risk of poor health due to a variety of social and economic factors. Only 15.3% of Coloradans are in fair or poor health, compared to 21.5% of African Americans in Colorado.*
Every February we, as a nation, celebrate Black History Month. This is a time to celebrate the accomplishments and culture of African Americans. It's also a time to reflect on past and present challenges facing African Americans. One such challenge is the disparity in access to health care and health outcomes found between racial and ethnic groups. Colorado's African Americans are more likely to be in fair or poor health and to be impacted by chronic diseases than Coloradans as a whole. These disparities exist due to a variety of social factors, as well as poorer access to health care and preventive services.
African American Health
Cerise tells the story of her mother's positive experience within the health care system. She praises the local clinic her mother attends for their culturally proficient service and was impressed by the promotion of health equity within Colorado.
While reflecting on her mother's experience, Cerise says, "I was utterly amazed at the level and quality of care that she has received. Her provider has taken the time to really understand and hear her story. She feels empowered as a consumer not feeling that she is bound to a system and has to bow down to their needs, but really treated like an individual who deserves adequate health care."
There are a number of reasons that African Americans have poorer health outcomes and there are concrete ways we can improve these outcomes. Culturally competent and caring providers and clinic administrators, engaged patients and families, and policies that promote equity can move Colorado toward a more inclusive health care system.
Talking about racial and ethnic disparities can be challenging because the data may be overwhelming or we don't know how to get started. Far too few conversations about health disparities are being grounded in the experiences of Coloradans racial and ethnic communities. To achieve a healthier Colorado, we must raise the collective awareness of the challenges individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups face, and tackle them with the same fervor and leadership we have with other health issues. Visit our webpage to hear more stories from Coloradans of color and share them with your family and friends.
By the Numbers
Colorado has nearly 250,000 African American residents**
Compared to the overall Colorado population African Americans are 1.2x more likely to have asthma, 1.4x more likely to have high blood pressure, 1.8x more likely to have diabetes, and 1.5x more likely to be obese**
Average health care costs for people with chronic disease are 2.5x higher than for people without chronic disease**
* Colorado Health Access Survey
** US Census Bureau
***The Colorado Department of Health and Environment