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Equity vs Inequity in Healthcare for African Americans

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

You're Not Alone

Over the past years we have heard about the inequities that exists amongst those who are underserved. Basically, I'm referring to those who lack or are underinsured, they represent individuals of color who continue to fall deep into a dark hole when it comes to healthcare.

I've heard the saying that "All they have to do is pull themselves up by their bootstraps" but we must realize that the bootstraps have gotten weaker and weaker over the years, with little to no resources in these areas we leave a demographic behind that are getting weaker and weaker, and the rise of chronic illness is becoming greater and greater. As I see it in today's atmosphere healthcare is presumed as privilege within the underserved community, it is no longer perceived as a right.

The CDC defines health equity as a state in which everyone has a air and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health. Achieving this requires ongoing societal efforts to:

What Health Equity is Meant to Do

Address historical and

contemporary injustices

What Health Equity Should Do

What Health Equity Should Eradicate

What still persist within this system is:

Structural Barriers

Socioeconomic Status

Lack of insurance

Lack of transportation

Lack of childcare

Ability to take time off

of work

Cultural Differences Between Patient and Provider

Historical Events

We must further understand that individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately affected by difficulties finding affordable and quality housing. The practice of redlining or denying mortgages among people of color - and as a result, access to public transportation, supermarkets, and health care - has contributed to segregation of cities in the United States. Allow me to pose a few questions to you:

Do you have quality supermarkets within the area you currently reside?

How far is the nearest hospital?

Does the community you currently reside in have primary care offices located within the community?

Does the community you currently reside in have quality schools for your children to attend? Does the community you currently reside in have streetlights?

Does the community you currently reside in have quality drinking water which is not contaminated by lead and other contaminants?

And lastly, Does the community you reside in have access to employment for those who live in the community?

We must begin to integrate health equity foundationally across the board, rebuild a system which has been afforded to those of a particular socioeconomic background. We must remember that one's health is not better than others, life situations happen, care should not be based on one's color of his/her skin, zip code, lack of insurance. We must educate those in underserved communities about the importance of health, we must provide better wages, we must provide better housing, we must provide better supermarkets, we must provide better communication skills between physicians and patients. The list goes on.

Can it be accomplished is the question. I state yes, but it takes a joint effort, I can only speak for myself, I'm doing my best to make sure it happens by going out into these underserved, underrepresented communities teaching and providing resources that are not readily available to them. "All they have to do is pull themselves up by their bootstraps" but the bootstraps are weak, and the question remains What are you doing?

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