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African American Health Alliance: On The Road to Health Reform

WASHINGTON, March 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The African American Health Alliance (AAHA) is encouraged about possibilities for improving the health of communities of color because of actions by President Barack Obama. In less than two months since his inauguration, President Obama has made significant strides to improve the health of the American people. His --

  • Signing the Children's Health Insurance Program Act (CHIP) ensures that more children have access to health care;
  • Investing in health care as part of the Economic Recovery package helps more people keep their jobs and health coverage; creates new jobs and health care opportunities; and
  • Building the health care infrastructure including major funding for health information technology to help reduce medical errors, improve access to care, and increase jobs.

Regarding health reform, on March 5, 2009, the President convened the White House Summit on Health Reform, which included bipartisan House and Senate leadership, congressional committee leaders and others in congress, organizations, industry and business. AAHA Director Fredette West, who also chairs the Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition (REHDC), participated in the Summit. During the town hall segment, West asked President Obama and all the Summit participants to work to ensure that the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities is a core component of the health reform measure the President signs into law. In response, President Obama spoke about the importance of such and about the problem of unequal health care treatment. West also asked the President to give Summit participants marching orders before they leave. Later, President Obama returned to West's request for marching orders and outlined his assessment and suggestions.

West urges communities to get engaged and stay involved. Health reform is on its way; decisions are being made; and communities of color and other vulnerable populations must make their needs known to the Administration and Congress. To help stay informed, log onto and

AAHA is also encouraged by President Obama's signing of the Stem Cell Research Executive Order and Scientific Integrity Presidential Memorandum which will help further improvements and advances in health outcomes and medical treatment across a vast array of debilitating and life-threatening illnesses, including (but not limited to) diabetes, spinal cord injury, sickle cell disease, stroke, and heart disease. AAHA encourages the Administration to work to increase community's awareness and knowledge of research and technology advances. Comprehensive health education and awareness would help increase the public's health awareness and understanding of the need for research and new technologies. It is absolutely essential for diverse communities to be active participants in the research enterprise including decision-making, conduct of research, clinical trials, evaluation, and analysis and product development.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is developing guidelines for the support and conduct of responsible, scientifically worthy human stem cell research and will post the guidelines for public comment. AAHA encourages communities to review and comment.

AAHA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to helping eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care, and improving health for all.

SOURCE African American Health Alliance
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