What It Means and Why It Issues


I’m a transplant from Washington, D.C.; I do know and perceive the problems of huge cities.

Philadelphia has a lot to supply: an exquisite historical past (together with being the primary World Heritage Metropolis within the U.S.), lovely artwork, and fabulous eating experiences. As well as, it’s a metropolis of many medical firsts — the primary hospital, the primary medical faculty, the primary pharmacy, and the primary kids’s hospital within the U.S. Sadly, it additionally has a few of our state’s worst well being outcomes.

Lots of people in the present day are speaking about well being fairness — and it’s about time! At Independence Blue Cross (Independence), we contemplate well being fairness and improved well being outcomes to be amongst our most pressing priorities, so you may be listening to so much about it from us — on this weblog and elsewhere.

I’d wish to take a second to elucidate what well being fairness means and why it issues. As a result of earlier than we will all work collectively in the direction of well being fairness, we have now to start out with a shared understanding of this concern.

What Is Well being Fairness?

Well being fairness signifies that everybody has a good alternative to be as wholesome as doable, no matter who they're or the place they dwell. And it’s clear that in our metropolis there are huge disparities between communities relating to well being.

Well being is extremely complicated. There are a number of components that contribute to our general well being and well-being. Amongst these components are social determinants of well being (SDOH), variables that will create enormous variations within the experiences and exposures of individuals in several demographics.

SDOH can both function benefits or disadvantages to our well being, and might embrace:

  • Monetary state of affairs
  • Social connections
  • Employment alternatives
  • Schooling
  • Language fluency and literary abilities
  • Housing situations
  • Wholesome environments
  • Entry to wholesome meals
  • Entry to well being care
  • Experiences of discrimination

The variations in well being outcomes we see are the results of tons of of years of a sample of structural boundaries for some Individuals and alternatives for different Individuals.

The Well being of Philadelphia

The sixth-largest metropolis within the U.S., Philadelphia can also be extremely segregated, and is the lowest-ranked county in Pennsylvania for each well being outcomes and components. That's no coincidence. When you have a look at the life expectancy in Society Hill versus in Strawberry Mansion — two neighborhoods fewer than 5 miles aside — there’s a 20-year distinction.

Philadelphia additionally has the very best poverty price of any U.S. metropolis with a inhabitants of over a million. Practically one quarter of Philadelphians dwell beneath the poverty line (24.3%). That quantity is even greater (40%) for our Latino neighbors.

The COVID-19 epidemic has made racial well being disparities clearer than ever earlier than. Greater percentages of Black and Latino Philadelphians have been contaminated with the coronavirus, and have suffered the next COVID-19 mortality price, than non-Hispanic white Philadelphians. These variations are usually not brought on by race however by racism, which negatively impacts the social determinants that assist help good well being.

Attributable to systemic racism and gaps in alternative, Black and Latino folks:

Well being Fairness is Not Simply Race-based

Many different well being disparities exist in our society and in our area. Totally different folks have totally different ranges of danger for poor well being outcomes primarily based on:

  • Gender and gender id
  • Sexual orientation
  • Physique measurement
  • Age
  • Geography
  • Citizenship
  • Formal training
  • Wealth
  • English fluency
  • Literacy and technological abilities
  • Bodily skills
  • And extra

In upcoming well being fairness blogs from Independence, we are going to have a look at many of those well being disparities, illustrate the challenges that varied populations face, and discover what we will all do about them.

Issues Can Change

Well being disparities of any sort are unacceptable. The causes of disparities are complicated and deeply rooted. And at Independence, we’re dedicated to doing no matter we will so all of our members can entry the identical high-quality well being care.

Now we have been partnering with The Philadelphia Tribune for the final 12 months on the “Our Group, Our Well being” public training marketing campaign. We're collaborating with the City Affairs Coalition and Mom Bethel Church on the Ending Racism Partnership. We lately introduced our partnership with Speed up Well being Fairness, a city-wide coalition to prioritize and handle well being disparities.

However that’s only the start. Search for extra information within the coming months about how we plan to assist all our communities entry not solely reasonably priced medical health insurance, but in addition many companies and sources that may make a giant distinction.

I really feel longing for a future the place we obtain well being fairness in Philadelphia. I’m completely sure that, given the power and energy that native and nationwide establishments are devoting to those efforts, we are going to enhance well being outcomes in our space.

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