Your health care depends on who you are.” - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The unfortunate truth is that race and ethnicity influence a patient’s likelihood to receive many procedures and treatments. Minorities are less likely to receive quality care and more likely to face poorer health outcomes.
Whether it is diabetes, breast cancer, or asthma, gaps in treatment exist. Black Americans are 77% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than white Americans. The mortality rate from breast cancer for black women is nearly 40% higher than for white women. And Latinos are more than two times as likely to have asthma compared to non-Hispanic whites.
These health disparities need to be addressed. Our ethnic populations are growing quickly and soon the minorities will become the majority, yet their prospect of health and well-being are not equal.
April, National Minority Health Month, provides an opportunity to bring awareness to the health disparities that affect minorities. Everyone should have the opportunity to be as healthy as possible, and this year’s theme “Bridging Health Equity Across Communities,” recognizes that collaboration with community service can make this a reality.
Today, the main cause of health disparities is access, and not necessarily access to healthcare as you may traditionally think. Rather, in many communities, and especially among minorities, individuals lack access to high-quality education, safe neighborhoods, affordable housing, reliable transportation, clean environments, nutritious food, and stable employment. Ultimately, their health is adversely affected by social circumstances. Without transportation, they can’t get to the doctor. Without education, they may not understand their health condition or know they are experiencing symptoms of a more serious illness. And without housing, they may be unable to stay safe during all weather conditions. Access to basic needs impacts health disparities.
Collaboration with community service is the key to address these indirect conditions that affect health equity. Reaching minorities where they live, community groups can fill the gap. We’ve highlighted countless programs impacting all areas of need. From health clinics in barbershops, new winter coats for children in need, loans to finance grocery stores in underserved communities, or giving homeless a place to call home, community service organizations help address the social determinants of health to keep patient populations healthy.
This year’s National Minority Health Month not only raises awareness for minority health, it reminds us that collaboration works. By bridging the gap between community resources and healthcare providers, health for minorities can be improved and equity can be achieved.
At Healthify we are focused on supporting coordinating services within communities to better address social determinants. If you’re interested in learning how, please contact us below!