Health equity is made possible when every person has the opportunity to achieve optimal health and no one is disadvantaged from achieving his or her health potential because of socially determined circumstances.
While there have been some improvements on health disparities in recent years, the data show that differences in health outcomes continue to persist for Americans of different races and ethnicities in large cities. The stubborn trend that populations of color have worse health outcomes than whites remains troubling, but has also started to show some signs of change. While blacks generally still suffer higher mortality rates than whites for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS, the picture is more complicated for Hispanics, depending on the condition. With the exception of Boston and Phoenix, inequalities are clear in the overall death rate between white residents and their black counterparts.
The Coalition's Work
Across the country, public health departments develop insight and generate awareness about how social injustice creates and perpetuates inequities in health outcomes. They work tirelessly to eliminate health disparities and achieving optimal health for all Americans. They collaborate with neighborhood leaders, law enforcement, schools, hospitals, businesses, libraries, faith-based organizations, and other community partners to address complex issues through solutions that are geared towards reducing health inequities, such as paid sick leave, livable minimum wage, toxic waste siting, and safe and affordable housing.
For more blog posts, check out our Front Lines Blog section.
The Houston Health Department truly understands that if you want to affect behavior you must reach out to those whose behavior you want to change, not wait for them to come to you. Otherwise, you may never reach them. That’s the motivation behind Houston Hits Home, a public health initiative targeting some of the highest risk groups for HIV—youth of color—to get them tested so they know their status.
Philadelphia: Innovative Efforts Have Philadelphia Seeing Big Drops in Obesity Among Youths of Color
“Philly is special,” notes Food Trust Executive Director Yael Lehmann. “There are some special things happening there, especially around food and food access.”