DeWine outlines new steps to address racial health disparities in Ohio

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The minority health strikeforce established by Ohio in April will release its final report Thursday, and as a result, Gov. Mike DeWine has issued a plan to implement the suggestions in the report to fight health disparities among the Black community.

“It is wrong that in Ohio today, the overall life expectancy of African-American Ohioans is four years shorter than a white Ohioan,” DeWine said during his Thursday coronavirus briefing. “It’s wrong that African-American Ohioans have a higher rate of heart disease, higher rates of hypertension and diabetes.”

DeWine also pointed out that African-Americans are 2.5 times more likely to live in poverty than white Ohioans while African-American children are 3 times more likely to live in poverty.

African-Americans make up approximately 14 percent of Ohio’s population, the governor said, while representing 25 percent of positive COVID-19 cases in the state.

Some of the actions the governor is taking include colleges and universities to encourage more African-Americans and other minorities to become teachers; have the Ohio Jobs and Family Services department improve the foster care system to help Black children get adopted; have Jobs Ohio help get more African-Americans involved in business ownership; challenging the legislature to pass a comprehensive plan it has already developed in regards to equality in policing; and tasking the Ohio Department of Health to address lead paint in Ohio.

In addition, DeWine announced the creation of the Ohio Governor’s Equity Advisory Board, which will be a permanent group to help guide the state as it addresses the underlying causes that contribute to “disparities in life and health in Ohio,” the governor said.

Since the taskforce was established, it’s mission has grown to include wider health disparities among the African-American community and racial injustice, DeWine said.

The taskforce’s final report is expected to be released on the state’s coronavirus website sometime Thursday.

Coronavirus in Ohio resources:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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