AARP Arkansas received one of five Minority Health Hero awards from the Arkansas Minority Health Commission during the Commission’s 20th Anniversary Gala.
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The Minority Health Hero award recognizes AARP for its work on minority wellness and disease prevention. The AARP/Walgreens bus recently completed a tour through northwest and central Arkansas staffed by AARP volunteers and chapter members. As with previous stops in Arkansas, the latest tour had a special focus on serving African-American and Hispanic communities. In both of these communities the prevalence of disease and lack of health insurance is more pronounced.
The University of Arkansas College of Public Health’s Health Status of African-Americans in Arkansas report, issued in 2009, shows that African- Americans in Arkansas have death rates significantly higher than those of Caucasians for cancer, heart disease, HIV and stroke. Additionally, African-Americans have significantly higher rates of infant mortality, low birth weight and inadequate prenatal care than Caucasians.
In addition to the AARP/Walgreens bus tour, AARP volunteers and staff also have conducted outreach, distributing disease prevention and health reform benefit information at health fairs sponsored by the Minority Health Commission as well as other health fairs at community events. AARP also has been a leader as a member of the Arkansas Minority Health Consortium and engaged in discussion related to public policies that affect minority health.
During the 2011 regular legislative session, AARP worked with the Minority Health Consortium to develop support to address, among other things, the state’s health care worker shortage, correct health care disparities, and advance health improvement through health information technology.
“I was very proud to accept this prestigious award on behalf of AARP and especially our volunteers, who really are the backbone of everything we do in Arkansas,” said AARP Arkansas State Director Maria Reynolds-Diaz. “Our partnership with the Arkansas Minority Health Commission is a prime example of how we carry on the tradition of our founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, and her principles of service and collective voice.”
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