According to the US Census, the population of Mecklenburg County has grown by 9 percent since 2000 to about 756,016 residents in 2004. Racial and ethnic minorities make up 43 percent of the county's population. County Manager Harry L. Jones, Sr. declared "Eliminating Health and Mental Health Disparities" a priority for Mecklenburg County in October 2005. He charged the Mecklenburg County Health Department (MCHD) with lead responsibility for developing the MCHD Call to Action to Eliminate Health Disparities.
The MCHD Call to Action to Eliminate Health Disparities builds upon the work of the NC Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities and the Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) Steering Committee for Eliminating Health Disparities directed by Barbara Pullen-Smith who will be at the presentation. The Call to Action provides a strategic framework to identify, monitor and address health disparities in Mecklenburg County.
Key recommendations presented in this plan include:
- Increase awareness of health disparities, especially disparities related to race/ethnicity, disability, and socioeconomic status.
- Promote, develop and enhance the community's capacity to engage in healthy living and the elimination of health disparities in health status.
- Monitor progress towards the elimination of Health Disparities.
- Promote customer-friendly services that meet the needs of underserved populations (i.e., the poor and minority groups).
- Identify and advocate for public policies that aid in closing the health status gap.