The increasing diversification of the United States’ population has led to a situation where, according to the recent estimates, up to 36 percent is comprised of ethnic and racial minorities (CDC, n.d.). It has also been established that due to a wide range of health disparities, these minorities are disproportionately vulnerable to several health-threatening conditions. Such a situation constitutes a major threat to public health. The following paper addresses the issue of health disparities of the Hispanic minority group through health promotion.
Current Health Status
Hispanics, or Latinos, are among the most numerous ethnic minority groups in the United States. According to the latest data, its representatives comprise more than 16% of the population (SAMHSA, n.d.). By 2050, the proportion is expected to grow to 132 million people, reaching almost a third of the current proportion (SAMHSA, n.d.). Currently, the minority group’s health status raises concerns in several areas. First, the annual rate of illicit drug use among Hispanics aged 12 and older is slightly above 10 percent (SAMHSA, n.d.). Admittedly, the observed situation is only marginally worse than the latest national average of 9.4% (NIH, 2015). At the same time, binge alcohol use within the same group is between 23 and 25 percent (SAMHSA, n.d.). This metric is lower than its national counterpart of 26.9% (NIH, 2015).
The population is also known to exhibit vulnerability to mental disorders. For instance, more than 15% of the population has reported mental illnesses in the previous year, with 3.5% having a serious mental condition (SAMHSA, n.d.). More than 5 percent reported a major depressing experience, and over 3 percent of the sufferers are illicit substance users (SAMHSA, n.d.). These numbers are slightly lower than the national average of 18.3% for any mental illness and 4.2% for serious conditions (NIH, n.d.). Nevertheless, the issue requires attention and should be addressed.
Within the Hispanic population segment, health promotion can be defined as the communication of relevant health information through education, outreach, and public awareness campaigns. Currently, several community organizations exist that provide the described services to the population. The interventions offered by these organizations aim at modifying lifestyle habits by introducing healthy behaviors and avoidance of hazardous practices such as substance abuse. The organizations also provide counseling and other forms of psychological support.
The unfavorable health status is the result of several disparities associated with the group’s characteristics. First, the poverty rate is relatively high among Hispanics, which discourages them from seeking professional help and restricting their access to insurance. In many cases, health expenses are not included in the list of daily needs (CDC, 2016). Second, the group’s representatives experience communication difficulties due to the existence of a language barrier. Also, Hispanics report encountering emotional and psychological difficulties in their interactions with clinicians. The third major detriment is the educational factor. Due to social and economic restrictions, Hispanics are less likely to obtain sufficient understanding of the fundamental health promotion principles and, as a result, are less likely to seek lifestyle improvements. The educational inconsistencies also discourage the group from participating in educational and health promotion events (CDC, 2016).
Three Levels of Health Promotion
Considering the information above, it is necessary to create a comprehensive response by organizing a health promotion intervention. Due to the encompassing level of the presenting problem, the intervention must target the issue on all levels of prevention. First, the campaign should include a series of educational events on the effects of substance abuse, behaviors that minimize the risk of adverse health effects, and, most importantly, strategies and techniques intended to assist the management of unhealthy practices development. The described approach would prevent the formation of risky behaviors among the non-impacted population, and, therefore, constitute a primary level of health promotion prevention. Next, some of the events need to address the concerns of the current users of drugs and alcohol by covering the topics of reducing the harm associated with the practice.
This approach would constitute secondary prevention as it will mitigate the adverse health effects occurring at the early stage of habit formation. Therefore, it is consistent with the characteristics of the secondary level of prevention. Finally, it is necessary to coordinate the campaign progression with the clinics and health centers specializing in the treatment of the adverse health effects pertinent to the heavy use of drugs and alcohol. For instance, it would be possible to organize the supply of resources that are considered essential needs of the impacted population. Alternatively, it would be easier to organize an effective delivery of printed and digital content to the sufferers. This component of the intervention is aimed at mitigating the effects of a significantly developed habit and, as a result, can be considered a tertiary prevention level. The suggested structure is the most effective choice since it will be catered to the needs of the minority group and can address the issue on all levels, reducing the adverse effects for existing sufferers while simultaneously reducing the number of new instances.
Addressing the health needs of ethnic minorities is an important step in the improvement of public health on a national scale. Thus, it is recommended to organize a comprehensive intervention that would facilitate prevention on three levels. This approach would increase the consistency of results and ensure the long-term effect of the campaign.
CDC. (2016). Racial and ethnic approaches to community health (REACH). Web.
CDC. (n.d.). Health equity. Web.
NIH. (2015). Nationwide trends. Web.
NIH. (n.d.). Mental illness. Web.
SAMHSA. (n.d.). Racial and ethnic minority populations. Web.