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Congresswoman Clarke Works to Reduce Health Disparities

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke has asked the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Subcommittee on Health and Human Services to restore support for programs to reduce disparities in health care, an investment with the potential to save $300 billion each year.

The disparities that exist in health care create serious problems – for example, African-Americans account for disproportionate percentage of AIDS infections, elderly African-Americans are less likely to receive a flu shot, and African-American mothers have less access to pre-natal services. In many instances, even a small investment has the potential to prevent serious health problems and the substantial costs that occur as a result.

The letter, sent to Chairman Jack Kingston and Ranking Member Rosa de Lauro of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, requests $65 million for the Office of Minority Health and $268 million for the Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, to identify disparities and determine cost-effective solutions, $30 million for the Minority Centers of Excellence, $21 million for the Health Careers Opportunity Program, $65 million for the Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions, and $75 million for Area Health Education Centers, which support underrepresented minorities who want to enter the health professions, $50 million for the Centers for Disease Control Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program, which develops community-based intervention programs.

“The costs imposed by inadequate investment in basic health care services – such as flu shots, screenings for diabetes and cancer, and the preventions of sexually transmitted diseases – are enormous, both on our health care expenditures and, more important, on our quality of life,” said Congresswoman Clarke, who has worked in the House of Representatives to increase access to preventative services in the United States and around the world.

“If we provide adequate support for programs that have been demonstrated to reduce the disparities that now exist in access to health care, we will increase both our life expectancy and our quality of life as instances of chronic disease are reduced.”

U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the House Committee on Small Business, Ethics, and Homeland Security, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. She represents many neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.