National Minority Health Month hopes to bring attention to health equity

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People give their medical history to nurses during a free health clinic at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena on October 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.

April is National Minority Health Month. Underprivileged communities have long had higher disease rates and less access to healthcare than those of comparable age in privileged positions. California health leaders in Southern California hope to help change that.

"So we see a much more significant impact of these major illnesses on the different minority communities in the United States than we see in general in the white population," sums up Dr. Keith Norris, Executive Vice President for Research and Health Affairs at Charles Drew University in South L.A.

Heart disease, stroke and cancer are among the illnesses that continue to disproportionately affect minorities —especially among those from low-income communities.

According to the American Heart Association, heart failure before age 40 is 20 times more common among blacks than among whites.

And, according to the in places like South Los Angeles and more education programs that reach people in those communities.

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