Your ZIP code shouldn’t predict how long you live, but it does.President and CEO of The California Endowment
This week we will focus on health disparities and how systems of oppression create and maintain inequitable health outcomes for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) populations. We begin with a focus on understanding social determinants of health and community health.
Community health is the collective well-being of community members within a specific geographic location, according to the Tulane School of Public Health.
When our community health institutions and physical environments result in poor health outcomes for specific portions of the population, as a society, we are not healthy. The root behind many health inequities is social determinants of health (SDOH). SDOH are various social, economic, cultural and environmental conditions that influence population health.
Too often SDOH stratify and create divides among different racial and ethnic groups, income levels and social positions. This can lead to favorable conditions for some populations and less favorable conditions for others. For example, a low-income community might have less collective political power and financial capital to counter a media campaign by an oil and gas company looking to place a refinery adjacent to their neighborhood. The environmental effects of the oil refinery may then have a disproportionately negative effect on the health of members from that low-income community.
Community health acknowledges the continued harm and lack of quality care due to systematic inequity and racism that has created health and healthcare disparities. Community health is more localized and specific to a particular community’s needs. Community health solutions are centered on working with communities to maintain health and provide equitable access and resources to holistic care.
Throughout this week, we will dive deeper into specific health inequities and learn more about what we can do to push toward a healthy community, physically, mentally and emotionally, for all Michigan residents.