Welcome to Black History Month 2021! This is a time to celebrate and honor Black Americans and today is an opportunity to spark important conversations. It has been 18 years since the Institute of Medicine publication Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare first came out with consolidated research regarding the absence of health equity in our healthcare system. Yet, after all this time, a gap is still prevalent within our healthcare system for minorities.
This research from the Institute of Medicine showed that being a racial or ethnic minority is a risk factor, in itself, for potentially poor health outcomes. To put that into perspective, just by being born a black woman, you are 22% more likely to die from heart disease, 71% more likely to die from cervical cancer, and 243% more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes compared to white women. Other medical conditions that see a discrpency due to reace/ethnicity include: colorectal cancer, breast cancer, chronic conditions, and stress. This article by The Commonwealth Fund goes into more detail on each of these.
Regardless of this compelling research and having health equity being added to the list of aims for the US healthcare system, it has largely fallen by the wayside. This can be seen in the fact that mortality rates for breast cancer, heart disease, and strokes have declined overall in the last 20 years; however, the divide between black and white populations remains ever-present. Because of this, health equity has largely been deemed a forgotten aim of healthcare that has and continues to be overshadowed by other issues.
In order to address this, healthcare professionals need to make a concerted effort to recognize the presence and role that race and racism play in the healthcare system. Until this happens, concerted efforts to bridge this gap in healthcare will be unyielding. Access to quality health services should not be decided by your ethnic or racial makeup.
MediCopy’s role in the healthcare system may be limited to the release of information but we will use our platform to speak on what we care about. As a minority-owned business, MediCopy has always been dedicated to diversity, openness, and honesty. The absence of health equity in our healthcare system is a topic of conversation that must be discussed and MediCopy is proud to be in on the conversation.