National Minority Health Month 2023: Ensuring True Equity through Better Understanding

Posted on April 20, 2023 by Dr. LaShawn McIver, Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of Minority Health

Every year, during the month of April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) recognizes National Minority Health Month. This observance promotes education regarding the health disparities that many underserved communities experience.

Last year, CMS released the CMS Framework for Health Equity 2022–2032, which describes CMS’ efforts to address health disparities as a foundational element of our work. The Framework highlights 5 priority areas where CMS is working to operationalize health equity across CMS programs and policies. It includes data collection, assessing causes of disparities, building the health care workforce, advancing linguistically and culturally appropriate services and health literacy, and increasing accessible services. Specifically looking at the fourth priority area, CMS seeks to advance language access, health literacy, and the provision of culturally tailored services — recognizing that if people cannot understand their health care providers, they cannot achieve their highest level of health. This effort speaks directly to the importance of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health’s (OMH) 2023 observance theme, “Better Health Through Better Understanding”.

CMS strives to embody the “Better Health Through Better Understanding” theme, not only in April but all year long, through initiatives like Coverage to Care (C2C). C2C resources aim to help consumers with any type of health coverage and any background to understand their health coverage and use it to connect to primary care and preventive services they need to live a long and healthy life. Be sure to check out:

  • The C2C Roadmap to Better Care, available in 9 languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese as well as a Tribal Version. This resource explains what health coverage is and how to use it to get primary care and preventive services. 
  • C2CPrevention Resources webpage, to learn about services available at no cost under most health coverage. These resources are individually tailored for preventive services to adults, men, women, teens, children, and infants and are available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Haitian Creole, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese

National Minority Health Month is an opportunity to encourage those in your community to make the most of their health coverage. Join us in helping to educate all minority and underserved communities on ways to better understand their health coverage and access to care and services. Also, don’t forget to check out the CMS Health Observance page to learn more about National Minority Health Month and other monthly observances CMS recognizes.