Good health is something that every person should be able to achieve. Unfortunately, not everyone has an equal opportunity when it comes to their health. Factors like race, poverty, or sexual orientation can affect an individual’s ability to access healthcare, good food, housing, or time for physical activity.
These differences create health disparities. For example, communities of color are two times more likely to experience infant mortality. Removal of these health disparities is called health equity. Continue below for how to promote health equity.
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What is Health Equity?
Health equity means each individual has the opportunity to meet their needs and be their healthiest selves. Health equity could look like providing low-cost or free care to people living in poverty.
There is a distinction between equity and equality. Equality strives for the same opportunities for all. The pursuit of equity recognizes differing barriers and needs to achieve the same opportunities.
Why is Health Equity Important?
Besides improving the health of those in affected communities and giving them fulfilled and long lives, health equity benefits everyone across the country.
Health disparities create billions of dollars in healthcare costs annually and result in a less productive workforce. The economy thrives when everyone can participate.
How to Promote Health Equity
Promoting health equity requires work from everyone, including small community organizers and up to local, state, and national governments. Eliminating health disparities is a big task, but there are easy ways to help.
The easiest way to create change in your communities is with the power of the vote. Vote for policies and politicians that acknowledge inequality within healthcare. Your vote should reflect a need to advance health equity agendas.
If it’s not election season, contact your representatives and senators. In your message, be sure to highlight the importance of health equity to not only their constituents but to the nation as a whole.
Volunteers can make a world of difference when it comes to promoting health equity. You can volunteer your time at a local clinic, or help transport those in need. You can spend a day answering hotlines, sharing information, or making appointments for community members.
Disenfranchised groups may feel unheard by public health establishments. It is important for community members to reach out and build partnerships.
One big key to building partnerships is sharing information in appropriate ways. This might mean translating documents or communicating in someone’s first language.
It can be nearly impossible to address barriers to health equity without understanding what they are. Having a relationship with those affected is instrumental in understanding and dismantling barriers. Go To Health is a great resource for learning more about building partnerships.
Knowing how to promote health equity is the first step in dismantling a system that creates health disparities. These disparities have negative impacts on people’s day-to-day lives and the country. There is no easy fix, but small actions can create a wave of change. Whether you vote, volunteer, or help build partnerships, we can all play a part in reaching health equity.
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