Black Men's Health in Illinois
Illinois Department of Public Health Director, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker encouraged African-American men to take charge of their health by making better choices and taking advantage of testing for certain diseases and conditions.
"Maximize Our Lives - Black Men's Health Awareness" was the theme of today's luncheon, sponsored by IDPH's Center for Minority Health Services, in partnership with the Broadcast Ministers Alliance of Chicago. The luncheon was one of 70 IDPH events held this April in observance of Minority Health Month.
"We continue to see disparities in the health of Black men," said Dr. Whitaker. "Black men are suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease, and prostate cancer at higher rates than their counterparts. While efforts are being made to provide better access to quality healthcare, Black men must also do their part to stay healthy. Eat healthy, exercise and have routine tests done to ensure you don't have a problem."
Dr. Whitakers addressed the group shortly after Governor Rod R. Blagojevich proclaimed April 23 to 29 Cover the Uninsured Week in Illinois to highlight the struggle of the 1.4 million adults in Illinois who are uninsured. During the luncheon, Dr. Whitaker took the opportunity to explain how the governor's Illinois Covered plan can help African American men by ensuring that they, along with all Illinoisans, have access to quality, affordable healthcare. According to a recent survey, over 22 percent of the State's uninsured are African American. These numbers are startling given the fact that African Americans only make up a little over 15 percent of the total population.
"I applaud the Governor for coming up with this comprehensive, aggressive plan to change this broken healthcare system," said Dr. Whitaker. "Illinois Covered, benefits hospitals, insurance companies, employers and most importantly---those who don't have or can't afford quality healthcare. Lack of insurance is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Ensuring health insurance means saving lives."
Governor Blagojevich established four guiding principles for Illinois' healthcare that is evident in his record through bills he has signed and policy decisions he has made during his administration. They are: