Dr. Martin Luther King said it best and reminds us that at Horizon, our work truly does ‘uplift humanity.’ It has great dignity and importance and must therefore be undertaken with painstaking excellence!
During the month of February, the U.S. honors & celebrates the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans who have helped shape the nation. Black history month celebrates the deep and rich cultural heritage, triumphs and adversities that are a part of the country’s history. As an organization, we honor this month by sharing a few special notes which relate to this topic.
As we shine a spotlight on key articles from publications which help us stay ahead of the healthcare curve, join us in jumping into this seminal writing from the 2022 Health Affairs special report which was written in honor of Black History Month.
For this month’s newsletter, we focus on Health Equity by sharing this powerful article by King, Buckley, Maheshwari & Griffith (2022). In ‘Race, Place, And Structural Racism: A review of Health & History in Washington, D.C.’ the authors highlight the policies, practices and events that have sustained systemic racism and have impacted one’s health in the United States, specifically focusing on the Washington, D.C. region. When examining this region of the U.S., authors point to an overall health profile which appears on its face to score quite well as the nation’s healthiest metropolitan area. However, when stratifying health indicators by race, startling disparities emerge highlighting the fact that Black men and women in this region live some 12-17 years less than their White counterparts.
These life expectancy discrepancies are among the largest in the nation and have persisted for decades. Authors analyze policies which impact social determinants of health such as education, food access, this region’s status as a district rather than a state and how that impacts the shaping of national policy; all of which play their respective roles in negatively impacting health outcomes for the African American population.
Yet we have reason to be hopeful. Many recent articles such as these have clearly documented racial inequities by race & place and continue to raise awareness and encourage us as a nation to examine the social determinants of health which advance population health. Despite this, equitable health outcomes simply cannot be achieved without considering racial justice initiatives which aim to correct policies, systems & structures.
This article shares a few hope-inspiring examples in the Washington D.C. region which would serve as great examples for other regions.
At Horizon, we stay informed about these important racial justice conversations and we use the information to better serve our local constituents in the Bay Area counties which we serve.
Learn more about Dr. King and Black History Month.