As health educators, we’re constantly reminded of the challenges facing our underserved communities. For example, did you know that your zip code is a reliable indicator of access to quality health care? Or, that your zip code can predict the likelihood of safe, outdoor places for walking and other forms of movement?
Moreover, did you know that Blacks are more likely to experience health care inequities than Whites? Also, that African American and Hispanic women are disproportionately impacted by musculoskeletal disparities?
Finally, did you know that changes in how health care providers are paid for their services may get in the way of your ability to receive the medical or surgical care you need? These changes are particularly important considering the additional risks and costs to providers associated with managing patients with co-morbidities like obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and depression.
It is important now more than ever for you to increase your knowledge about how these challenges impact you. Doing so will help you better navigate them and get the most out of the health care system.
April is National Minority Health Month – the perfect time to learn more about the health status of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. If you are not aware that health care disparities and inequities persist for racial and ethnic minorities, now is the time to ACT. Individually and collectively we can make the choice right now, today, in this moment to ACT by taking the following three steps:
- Acknowledge that healthcare disparities and inequities are real;
- Confront barriers to change by naming systems, policies, and processes that perpetuate health care disparities and inequities; and
- Transform how we think about healthcare; not as a privilege for a few but, health care as a human right for all.
Join the Movement is Life journey as we ACT to end healthcare disparities and inequities among people of color and women. Together, we can make a change for ourselves and our communities. For more information visit www.movementislifecaucus.comandwww.startmovingstartliving.com.
Michelle A. Leak, EdD, MBA and Yashika J. Watkins, PhD, MPH