Disciples General Minister and President, the Rev. Richard Hamm, chats with Surgeon General David Satcher. ©2001 The Disciple/CBP/Jim Barnett photo.
The U.S. Surgeon General says better health in the United States is dependent upon a quality community health program, emotion and disease protection, early diagnosis and universal health coverage.
Unfortunately, 42 million, or one in five, Americans don't have health care insurance coverage and as many don't have adequate coverage—lacking dental and prescription coverage.
Addressing a UCC Justice and Witness Ministries luncheon at General Synod/Assembly, Dr. David Satcher, surgeon general, outlined the inadequacies of the American health care system in providing for racial/ethnic and economically deprived citizens. He said that "Healthy People 2010," the nation's health plan for this decade, has two goals: to improve the quality of life for aging Americans and to eliminate disparities in health with racial ethnic groups. At the luncheon he addressed the second goal.
An example of such a disparity in racial/ethnic groups, he said, is diabetes among African Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics, which is considerably higher among these racial groups. In many instances this is because of poor diets caused by poverty. Such a disease leads to obesity that in turn leads to increases in cancer and cardio-vascular diseases.
Satcher, a member of National City Christian Church in Washington, D.C., praised the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for their public health programs and the difference they have made in the lives of America's poor.
The Rev. Daniel R. Gangler is Managing Editor of The Disciple magazine.