Health and Fitness

Illinois Health Department Tackles Eliminating Health Disparities among Racial and Ethnic Minorities at Conference

Impact of Affordable Care Act on Communities of Color to be Discussed

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–March 27, 2013.  Eliminating health disparities and understanding the impact of the federal Affordable Care Act on communities of color in Illinois are among the issues being examined at the 2nd annual Minority Health Conference, hosted by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Center for Minority Health Services. More than 200 public health professionals and advocates statewide were expected to attend the two-day conference, held March 27-28 in conjunction with the Illinois Public Health Association in Naperville.

This year’s conference falls just ahead of National Minority Health Month, observed every April. The Illinois Minority Health Conference theme of “Moving Forward: Seizing the Moment to Bridge Health Equity in Illinois” is aligned with the national strategy established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of reducing racial and ethnic health disparities.

“Bridging health equity and providing access to culturally competent health care for all of the citizens of Illinois is fundamental to all of our life goals and our opportunity to meet our full potential,” said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “The Minority Health Conference is a perfect opportunity for public health professionals, stakeholders, and community advocates to examine health disparities and work together to formulate solutions for eliminating those disparities.”

Gaps in health outcomes between communities of color and white communities in Illinois continue to exist in almost every major category. Non-whites have a lower life expectancy than whites in Illinois, according to census data. Also, the lack of access to health care as well as the incidence of certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS and certain cancers, remains disproportionately high in some communities of color in Illinois.

Keynote speakers include Cara James, director of the federal Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Dr. Linda Rae Murray, past president of the American Public Health Association, and health disparities specialist Thomas LaVeist of the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

A special cooking demonstration will be presented on Thursday by Food Network Star Season 8 finalist Chef Judson Todd Allen, CEO and Executive Chef of Healthy Infused Cuisine, LLC. For more information about the IDPH Center for Minority Health Services, visit The conference’s primary plenary sessions will be live-streamed at the following address: Follow the conference on Twitter using the hash tag #mhcil.