What are Health Inequities?

focus-on-equityHealth inequities are unjust and preventable differences in health between groups of people. They are created and reproduced by policies and systems that hinder people’s ability to participate in systems of power.

Health inequities particularly impact communities of color. In addition to experiencing higher rates of illness and death, communities of color continue to experience deep and persistent inequities not only in health care, but also in income, wealth, neighborhood infrastructure, affordable housing, stable employment and education. These inequities increase the risk for poor health. Undergirding these inequities in health and social outcomes is structural racism.

Our Commitment to Equity

The Consumer Health Foundation (CHF) seeks to eliminate racial and ethnic inequities in health and health care. Differences in health and life expectancy between whites and people of color — which contribute to thousands of people being ill or dying in our region each year — can be avoided. These health inequities lead to increasing health care costs and loss of productivity. Our region would be much stronger if everyone had an equal opportunity for good health and well-being.

Achieving health equity will require racial equity and economic justice. This means that the policies and systems that negatively impact people living in low-income communities and communities of color must change. Our communities must become places of opportunity through equitable public policies that enable people to get the health care they need, earn income, and generate wealth to support themselves, their families and their communities.

We have a shared responsibility to create a region in which everyone has an equal opportunity to live a healthy and dignified life. Local governments and policymakers in our region can help create these places of opportunity in partnership with community members, nonprofit organizations, foundations, businesses and others. CHF values community voice and engagement and supports initiatives and programs that bring theses voices into decision-making processes. Working together, we will achieve health equity and create policies and systems that assure the conditions for optimal health for all people.