April marks the beginning of National Minority Health Month, a time to focus on one of the most pressing health challenges for Massachusetts health disparities. Despite the expansion of health insurance, startling health differences persist by race and ethnicity.
Black babies are twice as likely as white babies to die in the first year of life, Latino children die of asthma at a rate four times as high as white children, and blacks and Latinos have the state’s highest death rates from hypertension and diabetes.
These health disparities result from a complex set of issues. Even when insurance status is equalized, people of color face social and economic barriers to good health, including less access to healthy food, fewer safe environments for physical activity and greater exposures to stress and discrimination.
Eliminating health disparities requires a strategy that tackles these root causes, so residents of all racial backgrounds have the opportunity to make healthy choices and access the resources needed for good health. We all suffer when there is inequality, and must work to ensure everyone in Massachusetts has an equal chance to be healthy.
As a past BPS employee and a charter school parent, I am experiencing the difficulties boys face in charter schools and the excessive amounts of demerits and detentions that cripple these young men’s spirit. The teachers seem to be stressed out and there is so much discipline that the children are not allowed to be children. It becomes a military boot camp, where children (especially boys) are forced to sit and be watched in glass detention rooms.