SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – During Black History Month Clark County health leaders are raising awareness of the health disparities minorities face, and addressing how to connect people to resources.

The Clark County Combined Health District is talking with community leaders to help spread the message and encourage people to get the preventative health exams they need.

“Right now we have a health crisis among minorities,” Springfield NAACP President Denise Williams said.

Williams joined the Clark County Combined Health District for their weekly public health update.

Health data shows minority groups in the U.S. experience greater risk of health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, asthma and heart disease, according to the health district.

“Why do we do that? Is it due to lack of health care, is it due to lack of information? Is it due to lack of funds?” Williams asked.

Williams said it’s a combination of all of those factors. She said another obstacle is the mistrust caused by racism and discrimination.

“I cannot explain how that feels being a Black woman and being discriminated against at a restaurant in these times, it still happens,” Williams said.

“You experienced that at a restaurant, what then is the motivation to think you are going to get adequate preventative health care at a doctor’s office?” Nate Smith, CCCHD communications coordinator, said.

Smith said it is the job of public health and of the community to realize how these factors impact health outcomes and begin working to change them.

“We have to re-dedicate our efforts and our resources to confronting and dismantling these barriers, and there is a systemic level of oppression that affects the health outcome of our minority friends and neighbors,” Smith said.

The Clark County Combined Health District is holding a free minority health fair on April 29 at Lincoln Elementary School in Springfield.