Julie Louise Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, GA 30333
Dear Director Gerberding,
We respectfully urge you to protect-and not eliminate as proposed-the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. While we are interested in your decision to redesign the structure of the CDC, we view the elimination of this vital office to be contrary to the stated goals of the CDC of "promot[ing] health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability," specifically among the often-underserved communities of color in our country.
Individuals in minority communities often have less access to health care resources and preventive care services than other Americans. Additionally, many also must overcome linguistic barriers to care. These unique needs and concerns underscore the need for the continuation of this office at the CDC.
In recent years, many Americans have seen both their overall health and life expectancy improve. However, these improvements have not been uniform. Some racial and ethnic minorities are lagging behind the general population when measuring health care outcomes and general access to the nation's health care system. For example, Hispanics in the U.S. are nearly two times as likely to die from diabetes compared to non-Hispanic whites, while African-Americans' heart disease mortality rates are over forty percent higher than mortality rates for whites. Among Asian and Pacific Islander-Americans, tuberculosis is more prevalent than in the general U.S. population. These disparities in minority communities must be addressed and not ignored.
We hope that you will reconsider the elimination of this vital office. The Office of Minority Health at CDC must continue to play a role in working to eliminate health care disparities in our country.
Representatives Crowley, Cooper, Tauscher, Doggett, Lee, Scott, Jackson Lee, McDermott, Case, Markey, McNulty, Green, Ackerman, Filner, Norton, Grijalva, Owens, Brown (FL), Bell, Rangel, Baldwin, Farr, Frost, Matsui, Meeks, Delahunt, Waxman, Ford, Hastings, Watson, Abercrombie, Blumenauer, Cummings, McCarthy (MO), Meehan, Towns, Maloney, Nadler, Van Hollen