New Mexico Publishes Third Health Disparities Report Card

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The New Mexico Department of Health has recently published the third edition of the Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Report Card to increase awareness about health issues facing New Mexico's diverse population. The report card will guide the Department of Health's efforts to improve the health of all racial and ethnic groups in areas such as maternal and child health, violence and injury, chronic disease, infectious diseases and risk behaviors.

"We hope the report card will encourage community partners to work with the Department to develop strategies that can reduce disparities and increase health equity for New Mexicans," said Health Secretary Dr. Alfredo Vigil.

Health disparities are the differences in health status and impact of diseases on different populations. The report card looks at 20 health indicators for five major racial and ethnic groups in New Mexico.

This year, the Department's Division of Policy and Performance added pertussis (whooping cough) as an indicator, based on feedback from the public. The report card is located on the Department's website at www.nmhealth.org/OPMH/2008ReportCard.pdf.

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The highest disparities were recorded for the following five indicators:

* Hepatitis B: the Asian/Pacific Islander rate of 55.6 per 100,000 is 46 times that of Hispanics who had a rate of 1.2 per 100,000

* Teen Births: the Hispanic rate of 53.7 per 1,000 is 4 times that of Caucasians (13.3) for girls ages 15-17.

* HIV/AIDS: the African American rate of 18.2 per 100,000 is 3.2 times that of Caucasians (5.7) – (African Americans have had 22 cases in three years).

* Alcohol-related deaths: the American Indian rate of 87.2 per 100,000 is 3.2 times that of African Americans who had a rate of only 27.5 per 100,000

* Diabetes deaths: the American Indian rate of 60.4 per 100,000 is 3.1 times that of the Caucasian rate of 19.5 per 100,000.

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