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Black History Month + the Urgency of Health Equity
February 7, 2024

Black History Month + the Urgency of Health Equity

Each February, we come together as a country to celebrate the accomplishments of Black Americans, from the trailblazers of the past to the innovators of the present. It is also a moment for us as business leaders committed to making our employees healthier and our communities stronger, to acknowledge a sobering truth: Black Americans are disproportionately affected by health disparities. 

There are multiple factors that impact health equity, including community conditions that underpin health, harmful experiences when accessing medical care, cultural stigmas, and discrimination. 

For the Black community, health inequity exists across a number of health categories, from lower rates of access to mental health care to increased risk of diabetes and heart failure compared to white and Latino populations. 

And today, on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we are presented with a stark reminder that HIV is an urgent epidemic for Black Americans. In fact, Black Americans represent approximately 12% of the U.S. population but account for 40% of people with HIV. The rate of new HIV infections among Black women is 10 times that of white women and four times that of Latina women. 

Black History Month is an opportunity to pause, take stock of how we are communicating with and supporting our Black employees and most importantly, to take action — not just in February – but in the weeks and months ahead. 

We’ve rounded up a handful of resources to help you get started:

Our resource Prioritizing Mental Health Equity in the Workplace is a great place to start, with six actionable steps you can take to center equity – from addressing financial stressors to taking steps to prevent discrimination and bias in the workplace. 

Head over to LinkedIn, where Mario Harper, one of the leaders of our U.S. Business Action to End HIV initiative, shared his thoughts on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and what you can do to educate your workforce about HIV, reduce stigma and create workplaces where everyone feels they belong.

HAA’s Guide to Building a Mental Health Employee Resource Group provides best practices for creating an ERG that reduces the stigma associated with mental health and helps to maintain an open dialogue with a diverse community of employees who have varying mental health needs.

Connect and Learn From Other Employers

At Health Action Alliance, we support and convene a community of business leaders who champion the health and well-being of their workforce. Join one of HAA’s new Orientations to meet like-minded peers and learn more about how HAA can support you and your company as you navigate today’s pressing health challenges.