The health status of African Americans identifies a higher prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and sexually transmitted infections when compared with Whites. However, more research is needed to identify socioeconomic variables and to establish needed health programs. The vestiges of early 20th century traditions of substandard housing and inadequate nutrition for African Americans are still apparent in many communities today. Most health care professionals are not educated and trained to be culturally sensitive. The struggle against the prevalence of diseases in African Americans must incorporate cultural sensitivity, community organization and empowerment. The need for a universal system of health insurance coverage is of utmost importance. The elimination of health disparities among African Americans requires a national effort, the involvement of public and private sectors, individuals and communities.