Health Observances

Health Observances

January Health Observance for Poverty Awareness Month

Learn the Effects of Poverty on Health Status During Poverty Awareness Month


The CMS Office of Minority Health welcomes your participation in promoting observances throughout the year to raise awareness about health issues affecting people across our nation. Share our resources on prevention, health equity, and research about health disparities.

During the month of January, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) recognizes Poverty Awareness Month. Although the number of Americans living in poverty fell to 10.5% in 2019, a new low of 34 million people, minorities are still overrepresented in poverty rates, with Black (18.8%) and Hispanic (15.7%) Americans shown to have poverty rates that were more than twice that of White Americans (7.3%). Further, those experiencing poverty are now also facing the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic in 2021. There is increasing evidence that some racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Inequities in the social determinants of health, such as poverty and health care access, affecting these groups are interrelated and influence a wide range of health and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.

Poverty is known to play a role in health outcomes, with those living in poverty having an increased risk of chronic conditions, lower life expectancy and barriers to receiving quality health care. Racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by the chronic conditions that can be exacerbated by poverty.

Poverty Awareness Month offers an opportunity for CMS OMH to further its goal of ensuring quality health care for all Americans. CMS and other federal programs offer a variety of resources to help vulnerable populations learn how to access their health coverage, manage health care costs, and fully utilize their benefits. Below is a list of resources that providers can share with their patients:


Page Last Modified:
01/07/2021 03:31 PM