This month, the “Take Charge of Your Health Today” page focuses on bridging health equity across communities. Heather A. Anderson, MPH, community outreach coordinator, CTSI Community PARTners Core, and program educator, Community Benefits Initiative, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and Esther L. Bush, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, sat down to have an enlightening conversation about the featured topic.
HA: Good afternoon, Ms. Bush. It’s nice to talk again. Because April is National Minority Health Month, we’ve decided to discuss health equity and bridging gaps across communities.
EB: I’m happy to see you again, Heather, especially because we get to chat about such a meaningful topic. As these pages have shown over the last five years, the status of minority health is heavily shaped by health inequity in our communities. It is key for us to talk about the gaps that cause these inequities. Also important is how we can “bridge” these gaps so that minority communities can have a health status equal to that of nonminority communities. We talk about this topic a lot among health and social service professionals. But it’s not something that we talk about at the community level. The health conversations that we have at a community level are focused on practicing healthy behaviors and staying informed. But I want to take it a step further than that. Where does health equity fit in?
HA: Great question. I think the foundation is understanding exactly what health equity means and how it affects a person’s life. Health equity is the study of differences in both the health and health care of groups with different races, ethnicities, income levels and sexual identities. They’re caused by social factors that can be prevented. You’ll often hear the term “social determinants of health” to describe the social factors that determine health outcomes.