A state task force has been assigned to study the health of minority Iowans to determine why they trail whites in several health categories. The Director of the Department of Public Health, Dr. Stephen Gleason, cites the death rate for blacks from diabetes as an example. That rate is 33 per-one-thousand, while among whites, it’s 23-per-one-thousand. He says the black infant mortality rate is almost three times higher than the rate for whites.Gleason says there have been many studies on the issue, but he wants this task force to drill deeper and find specific causes that will lead to legislation. Gleason says the task force will look at factual data to get by the bias in society against minorities.Rose Vasquez, the Director of the Department of Human Rights is a member of the task force. She says the project will help all Iowans.Vasquez says while the state’s minority population may seem small, it’s a population that will grow. Vasquez says the white population of Iowa will increase by 2.6 percent by the year 2025. She says the African American population will grow by 4.7 percent, the American Indian population by 56 percent, the asian population by 77 percent and the hispanic population by 78 percent. The first meeting of the task force is tomorrow. They hope to have recommendations ready by this time next year.
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