This weekend eleven of my colleagues and I will travel to San Diego for the 5th Annual Congressional Tri-Caucus Minority Summit. This year's Summit is being hosted by the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County.
Shortly after my election to Congress in 2000, I conceived the idea of the Tri-Caucus Summit as an opportunity for members of the Congressional Hispanic, Black and Asian Pacific American Caucuses to hear firsthand from health experts and grass roots advocates about the health challenges facing communities of color and innovative solutions to address them.
This year we'll gather in San Diego to discuss such important topics as SCHIP, HIV/AIDS, homelessness, foster care, border health, and veterans' care. With a new direction in Congress, new possibilities to address these issues exist.
Action to address health disparities is important now more than ever. Despite recent gains in the health field, disparities related to race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status remain prevalent. For example, more than 70% of Latinos across the country are considered overweight or obese, including 25% of Latino children. In 2005, 86% of babies born with HIV and AIDS were of color.
My Tri-Caucus colleagues and I are committed to reducing racial and ethnic health disparities. Last week I introduced H.R. 3014, comprehensive, bi-partisan legislation with Congresswomen Donna Christensen (Virgin Islands) and Madeleine Bordallo (Guam) to address health disparities. H.R. 3014 has 70 original co-sponsors, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair Michael M. Honda, and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Carolyn C. Kilpatrick.
Over 200 people are expected to attend this weekend's Summit in San Diego. As Chair of the Hispanic Caucus' Task Force on Health and a member of the House Health Subcommittee, I look forward to hearing from the panelists and attendees and to sharing the information I gather at the Summit with organizations in my district and my colleagues in Congress.