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Topics > Reducing Health Disparities Initiative > What We Are Doing > Homicide: A Health Disparity for African-American Men in County

Homicide: A Health Disparity for African-American Men in County

Left to right: PHOEC Program Manager Mary Anne Morgan, HNP Program Manager Roxanne Carrillo, CHAPE Planner/Evaluator Jennifer Lifshay and PHOEC Health Educator Tiombe Mashama.

This month we take a look at a shocking health disparity: Young African-American men are 25 times more likely to die from homicide than any other population group living in Contra Costa County. This disturbing statistic was revealed after we did an analysis on race and health outcomes data from 2000-2002.

This finding has helped to bring the issue into the spotlight, a major step in addressing homicide and community violence as a public health issue. Bringing attention to the problem is an important role for CCHS, as well as providing support to help strengthen communities so that they feel they have allies and resources to address violence, said Public Health Director Wendel Brunner, MD.

Several of our programs are working on violence prevention, community building and other issues that may directly or indirectly help to reduce this grim health disparity for African-American men. Mary Anne Morgan and the Public Health Outreach Education and Collaboration (PHOEC) unit staff are compiling a report defi ning violence from a public health perspective, with a focus on what needs to be done to prevent street violence.

PHOEC plans to host a meeting to share its findings with Public Health Division leadership in March and then present the report to Supervisor John Gioia's office.

PHOEC's Healthy Neighborhoods Project and our Alcohol and Other Drugs Services also are working with residents and Supervisor Gioia's office to conduct community education and advocacy for policy change to reduce access to alcohol and other drugs.

The Mental Health Division provides counseling, support groups and drug treatment services. Our Homeless Program does outreach to homeless and runaway youth - who may be at risk of becoming victims of violence - by providing housing and support.

Family, Maternal and Child Health (FMCH) programs is working even further upstream through its TeenAge Program (TAP), which is providing health services, education and youth development opportunities to middle school and high school students in West County.

Also involved in the effort is our RHDI African-American Health Initiative planning group, which was formed to address health disparity issues, including homicide, in the African-American community.

Content provided by the Reducing Health Disparities Initiative.

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