Health Disparities

The Center for Black Health & Equity promotes public health campaigns, programs and resources that are created with African American audiences in mind.

How The Center for Black Health & Equity is Responding to Health Disparities

The Center for Black Health & Equity builds the capacity of strategic partners, organizations and public health officials so that they may advocate for culturally appropriate solutions that eliminate gaps that undermine health equity.

There are several principals that guide our areas of focus:

  • African Americans continue to suffer disproportionately from most chronic diseases such as HIV infection.
  • African Americans are least likely to have adequate health insurance and access to quality healthcare.
  • Predatory marketing tactics are rampant in marginalized African American communities.
  • Population based public health paradigms exclude the most vulnerable populations that they are designed to benefit.

While our concern is for the overall health of African Americans, we have taken a targeted approach in order to tackle the greatest threats to our community. Our focus on the specific diseases listed below allows us to make a significant impact on African American health while simultaneously addressing the social injustices that create disparities.

Our Response to Key Issue Areas

(Please click below)

The Disparities:

  • Black people have the highest mortality rate for all cancers
  • 20% of Black men are eventually diagnosed with prostate cancer
  • Black people have the highest rate of colorectal cancer


On the Cancer Front

Cancer is complex. We have considered the major cancers affecting African Americans (lung, colorectal, prostate, breast and cervical) and are developing a strategy to address our unique needs. Right now, we:

  • Partner with the Intercultural Cancer Council and the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center to promote policies, programs and educational resources that reduce the burden of cancer on ethnic minorities and underserved populations.
  • Make presentations at national conferences such as the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable to educate audiences about issues impacting African Americans.
  • Disseminate CDC information about cancer disparities and promote the 80% in Every Community Campaign.
  • Promote the CDC’s Bring Your Brave Campaign focused on young survivorship.

The Disparities:

  • 45,000 Black people die from smoking-related illness each year
  • Black people are more likely to die from smoking than whites
  • Black children are more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke than other children


On the Tobacco Front

We are truly veterans when it comes to tackling the social, political and environmental issues that contribute to one of our greatest health threats. We haven’t slowed our efforts since 1998. Currently we:

  • Partner with AATCLC to work with policy makers, youth and community members to provide education about policies and resources that place healthy living in reach for African Americans.
  • Empower African American communities to advocate for tobacco-free environmental policies that protect their lives.
  • Host of series of webinars in order to facilitate information-sharing of tobacco-related issues impacting the African American community.
  • Developing a culturally appropriate training resource for state health departments to build their capacity to implement strategies for working with African Americans.
  • Promote cessation tools such as Pathways to Freedom that are designed with African American audiences in mind.
  • Host No Menthol Sunday, a faith-based effort to engage congregations and raise awareness about the role of menthol in tobacco products.
  • Disseminate CDC information about tobacco use and promote its Tips from Former Smokers campaign.
  • Support the HBCU Initiative which aims to achieve 100% comprehensive tobacco-free policies for all Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country.

The Disparities:

  • Black people are most affected by HIV, accounting for 44% of new cases
  • The HIV rate of infection in the Black community is 8 times that of the whites; 20 times higher for Black women
  • 35% of Black people are virally suppressed, but many do not have the healthcare to maintain care
  • Late diagnosis is common among Black people who often learn of their status in late stages


On the HIV/AIDS Front

We recognize the great challenge that HIV/AIDS has presented to the African American community. This is why we are so excited about our newest initiative. Beginning October 2015, we:

  • Partner with Crescent Care to conduct testing and provide counseling and education for African Americans, especially Black heterosexual men and women.
  • Promote the CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign to provide HIV to help increase testing rates.
  • Disseminate information about testing, PrEP, and living with HIV online and at events widely attended by African American audiences.
  • Work with policy makers to raise awareness about stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
  • Partner with national and state entities to disseminate CDC information about disparities related to HIV and AIDS