WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today praised the State of Maryland for establishing a working group to address the problem of health disparities among minority groups. Minorities comprise one-third of America’s population, but make up half of the uninsured. Studies also have consistently shown that minority patients receive lower quality health care than non-minority populations.
Senator Cardin authored a provision that was included in the health reform law to establish Offices of Minority Health in six agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and elevate the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities to an Institute. The new law clarifies the role of the new Institute Director as coordinator and manager of the NIH-wide minority health and health disparities portfolio, and provides the new Institute with professional judgment over NIH-wide minority health and health disparities budgets and funding.
“Health disparities exact an enormous human and economic toll on our nation. Our overall health status clearly depends on our ability to improve the health of our fastest-growing communities and eliminate the disparities that are evidenced by higher rates of infant mortality and debilitating diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer,” said Senator Cardin. “For too long in this nation, being a member of a minority group has meant less access to care, less treatment, and less research focused on conditions that affect you. I commend Maryland officials for taking a strong leadership roll and addressing the problem and in helping to end health disparities.”