BALTIMORE – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today joined U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings and members of The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies at a press conference about the Center’s report detailing health inequities among different Baltimore communities. The report documented a nearly 30-year difference in life expectancy between minority, low-income neighborhoods and wealthy, more affluent neighborhoods.
The study was conducted by the Joint Center with a grant from the National Institutes of Minority Health and Health Disparities. In the Affordable Care Act, Senator Cardin authored the provision elevating the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities to an Institute and establishing the Offices of Minority Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“This landmark report by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies calls attention to the significant health inequities in Baltimore’s neighborhoods,” said Senator Cardin. “These gaps, such as the 30-year difference in life expectancy documented in the report, are unacceptable and preventable. As the report shows, health disparities are linked to inequitable social and economic conditions in Baltimore, and we can and must take steps to eliminate them. As a Senator with a long-standing record of working to promote health equity, including my legislation establishing Offices of Minority Health throughout HHS and elevating NIH’s National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities to an Institute, I welcome this study as another tool to help us move forward to ensure that every American has an opportunity to live a healthy life.”
The report, “Place Matters for Health in Baltimore: Ensuring Opportunities for Good Health for All,” found that that place of residence is an important indicator of health and health risks. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of the range of social, economic, and environmental conditions in Baltimore — particularly as it relates to the quality of housing and educational opportunities — and documents their relationship to the health status of the city’s residents.
Among the study’s key findings are that life expectancy in Baltimore varies by as much as 30 years depending on the Census tract, and that Census tracts with the lowest life expectancy tend to have a higher percentage of people of color and low-income residents. The report also contains a series of policy recommendations to expand opportunity for all Baltimore residents.
Copies of the report are available at the Joint Center’s website, www.jointcenter.org.