Some Cincinnati City Council members are teaming up with the African-American Health Network in an effort to reduce what they called in a news release disparities in health care that are hurting the African-American community.
Vice Mayor Minette Cooper and Councilman Paul Booth say they are spearheading this partnership to investigate why the black community is not receiving a high level of health service.
There is a need, Cooper said, to focus on the health-care needs of the African-American community because of race-related diseases such as diabetes and lack of information about those diseases.
She also said there was a lack of knowledge and information in the black community about what was available in terms of health care.
"We want this to empower the community to take care of themselves," Cooper said. "When we have all this technology and health service advancements, why do we still have a group of people that need help?"
The goal of the partnership is to identify the problems on a local level and then focus on specific goals to "make a difference," Cooper said.
Are Cooper and Booth saying that it is specifically some African-Americans — as opposed to all low-income people — who are without sufficient health-care insurance and access to medical care?
"You can't target a racial group in terms of providing assistance," she said. "You can identify problems that are inherent to a group."
But isn't the news release and the effort as Cooper and Booth have described it clearly targeting a racial group?
No, Cooper said. The point of the partnership, she said, is not to target a racial group but to learn why people are not getting the proper care available to them.
The low-income factor certainly could be among the problems, she said.
So what will this effort do to help all low-income people who are without sufficient health-care resources?
"The bottom line is that this is focused on (the African-American community), but it is in no way limited to that group," Cooper said.
This is simply an informational process to find out what segments of the population are not benefiting from local health care, she said.
"We still have many people falling through the cracks, and it's just a matter of looking at what's causing this," Cooper said. "It could be a lack of motivation or a lack of information."
Because this effort will cover a broad spectrum, it could be helpful to the entire community, she said.