For Educators: Women of the Congressional Black Caucus

Activity 2: Healthcare: Advocacy of the Women of the Congressional Black Caucus


This activity engages student in analyzing legislative documents to learn what the current issues are in healthcare and what impact it has on minorities, especially children.

Below is an excerpt from the online exhibit that gives an overview of the concerns of the CBC women and what they hope to accomplish for the poor and underrepresented groups.

"One of the goals of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has been to ensure that minority and other underrepresented groups have access to comprehensive healthcare and services. For this reason CBC members have placed healthcare among their top priorities. Throughout the history of the CBC, members have worked together and in conjunction with other groups in Congress to pass important healthcare legislation related to minorities, including the recent Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit and Discount Act and the Minority Health Bill. However, these pieces of legislation do not bear witness to the tireless efforts of the CBC or the work of African American congresswomen surrounding health issues.

The women of the CBC have worked to advance the quality of healthcare for poor and underrepresented groups. One of the ways they have pursued this goal is to enhance and amend existing healthcare legislation. During the 1970's and 1980's African American congresswomen proposed and cosponsored a number of bills to amend such legislation as the Social Security Act and the Public Health Service Act. They wanted to ensure that the medically underserved had access to basic health services. They introduced legislation that would enable medical institutions to better meet the needs of low-income clients. They, along with other members of the CBC, advocated for comprehensive healthcare coverage for all Americans."

Read the excerpt to your students. Distribute the K-W-L worksheet to each student. Give them 10 minutes to respond.

Group Discussion

Lead the class in a discussion about what they know and understand about healthcare by asking them the following questions:

• What do you know and understand about current healthcare issues?
• Are you aware of any major healthcare issues in your community?
• How is your community affected by some of the healthcare issues that you are aware of?

Analyze Documents

Divide the students into five groups. Give each group a document to analyze (see below). Ask them to answer the following questions based on the information they gather from the documents.

The questions:
• What is the document?
• What healthcare issue is highlighted in the document?
• Who prepared it?
• Why was it important to present this concern before Congress?

Document Analysis
H.R. 2743: Medically Underserved Access to Care Act 2001
H.R. 3000: Establish a U.S. Health Service to provide high quality healthcare for all Americans
H.R. 4630: To provide the health, education, and welfare of children under 6 years of age
H.R. 2728: Good Health Protection Act of 2001
H.R. 4792: New United States Global HIV Prevention Strategy to Address the Needs of Women and Girls Act of 2004

Group Discussion

Bring the class together and allow each group to present the following information:
• What is their document?
• Who created it and for what purpose?
• What health issues were highlighted in the document?

As the students give their presentations, list on the board the major healthcare issues they learned about.

Research and Presentation

Using the list generated by the class discussions, instruct the students to read their local newspapers and identify similar healthcare issues in their community. Ask them to bring in the article to share with their class and be prepared to discuss how they think it will impact their community.

Encourage students to explore their local or state Department of Health web site for additional information about what major health issues are concerning their public officials.

Conclude the activity with the students referring back to their K-W-L worksheet and reflecting on what they have learned and how healthcare affects them.

additional information and links.