Health care disparities
Peer support groups in mental health allow people with similar lived experiences to listen, share, and encourage one another. A Black peer support group created around race and culture as well as mental health may offer a safe space that allows people to address aspects of shared identity and experiences around racism with others who understand their daily reality.
In the last decade, overall rates of colorectal cancer have been falling among the general population in the US. However, African Americans are more likely to develop colorectal cancer at younger ages, and to die from it. The reasons for this disparity are unclear, but they are rooted in socioeconomic and racial inequities.
The accuracy of health monitoring devices available to consumers varies, and in some instances skin tone may make a difference –– a problem called device bias. Yet proper function of such devices can have significant implications for the health of those using them.
Kidney disease requiring dialysis or transplant is far more common among African Americans than among white Americans, but genetics and biology play only a small role in this excess risk; the difference is linked to social and economic injustice rooted in systemic racism, and all the added burdens associated with it.
The lived experience of every transgender and gender diverse person (TDG) is unique, as are their approaches to gender affirmation. Some may choose to affirm their gender only socially, or not at all, while others use a variety of medical and surgical procedures to do so. How do certain choices affect sexual health?
The coronavirus pandemic has forced health care organizations to confront the inequities in their systems, particularly those affecting immigrants and communities of color. But once the disparities are acknowledged, what practical steps can be taken to address them?
In the US, racial and ethnic minority groups are more likely to have hypertension, thus putting them at higher risk for a COVID-19 infection. Controlling blood pressure helps reduce risk, but the underlying health inequities that make these groups more vulnerable also need to be addressed.
At one Boston health care system a range of initiatives aimed at improving health care equity were launched as the pandemic swept forward last spring, taking a disproportionate toll on communities of color. Building on this could prove key as the virus resurges this winter.
Communities of color, which have long struggled against health disparities, have been affected much more severely by the COVID-19 pandemic than white communities. Now is the time to take stock of misconceptions, mistrust, and missteps that helped fuel infection rates and devastating outcomes last spring.
Inequities in maternal health caused by chronic systemic social injustice contribute directly to higher rates of maternal death among Black and indigenous people and people of color. Maternal justice is a model of culturally sensitive care that aims to dismantle inequities in maternity care and maximize maternal health and well-being.