Health disparities throughout the U.S. are one of the most significant contributing factors to increased healthcare costs, higher rates of preventable disease and other factors. However, at Socially Determined, our mission is to help those in the health and public policy sectors understand how to make sustainable changes at scale.
Not only can medical costs related to chronic diseases be lowered, but working to reduce disparities enables organizations across the healthcare ecosystem to allocate resources where they’re needed most. Here’s how we can create a healthier nation by advancing health equity.
What Are the Consequences of Health Inequities?
As mentioned above, one of the biggest consequences of health inequities is the negative economic impact. These often stem from discrimination or structural racism that affects marginalized groups, such as racial and ethnic minorities, low-income populations and the LGBTQ community. These groups often have limited access to the resources they need to live happy, healthy lives. They’re also exposed to increased health hazards.
Limited access and increased risk lead to overspending on chronic diseases – many of which are preventable – reduced employment opportunities, and more.
How Can We Advance Health Equity in the U.S.?
Identify & Address Racial Biases
One of the first steps in addressing health inequities is identifying and mitigating the racial inequality and biases that currently exist in today’s health and policy sectors. This can be done by providing education and training via healthcare agencies, as well as addressing these things in the everyday workplace.
Be Explicit About the Issues
To properly address the problem of health inequity, organizations need to be explicit when defining what they are. It will be necessary to explicitly name the groups impacted by such disparities, then identify the steps needed to address them. This ensures all vulnerable populations affected receive the resources they need, such as improved access to healthcare so they can live longer, healthier lives and we can reduce risk factors.
Respect & Involve Communities in the Process
Another great way to address health inequities is to get the populations directly affected involved with creating a solution. The most vulnerable communities should be afforded opportunities to voice their concerns and issues to healthcare policy-makers and other sectors involved to reinforce understanding.
Contact Socially Determined today to help advance health equity.