National Minority Health Month 2023: EQUITY Through Communication

Posted on April 13, 2023 by RDML Richardae Araojo, Pharm.D., M.S., Associate Commissioner for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Ed. Note: A version of this blog was originally published in the FDA Voices blog series.

After receiving the diagnosis that he was HIV positive at the age of 22, Tony Enso, a member of the Cherokee tribe, never imagined that he would become one of the first Indigenous performers to open the U.S. Conference on AIDS. Tony’s story is featured as part of the EQUITY of Voices video series from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) about individuals living with HIV, finding hope, and better health through antiretroviral therapy.

EQUITY of Voices is one of the three aims of OMHHE’s Enhance EQUITY Initiative, which highlights research projects and communication resources to enhance EQUITY in Clinical Trials, and EQUITABLE Data Efforts, in addition to EQUITY of Voices. As the FDA observes National Minority Health Month this April, we are highlighting the Enhance EQUITY Initiative to raise awareness on the importance of improving the health of racial and ethnic minority populations and reducing health disparities. This year’s theme, “Better Health Through Better Understanding,” supports OMHHE’s mission to promote and protect the health of diverse populations through research and communication of science that addresses health disparities.

The FDA OMHHE is kicking off National Minority Health Month with a new episode of the Health Equity Forum podcast, which features a conversation with Dr. Jeff Shuren, Director of the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). In the episode, we discuss CDRH’s work to support the innovation of medical technologies that address health equity. This podcast series allows OMHHE to amplify the FDA’s communication with diverse groups and ensure audiences are informed about the agency’s efforts.

As part of our efforts to enhance EQUITY in Clinical Trials, OMHHE released updated clinical trial diversity educational materials in 10 languages. These efforts also support our commitment to language access and provide health education that supports the cultural and linguistic needs of the diverse communities we serve.

OMHHE is also working to increase evidence to support the evaluation of outcomes of FDA-regulated products by demographic data through our ongoing EQUITABLE Data Efforts. During 2022, OMHHE awarded more than $8 million in funding opportunities to support multiple projects to advance health equity-focused regulatory science research. This year, OMHHE continues to advance Equitable Data Efforts through funding opportunities such as the Health Equity Innovation Award, which is accepting applications through May 8, 2023.

For National Minority Health Month and throughout the year, we highlight the vital work of some of our researchers through OMHHE Researcher Spotlights. We invite you to read more about these diverse researchers and their work. We also invite you to visit our website to find more educational materials and resources as we continue working together to create a world where health equity is a reality for all.