Updated Apr 19, 2022 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on bridging care gaps in Atlanta

On Tuesday, April 19th, Axios Justice & Race reporter Russell Contreras and Atlanta reporter Kristal Dixon examined how social determinants impact health outcomes and what governments, nonprofits and communities are doing to bridge the divide in cities like Atlanta, featuring Morehouse School of Medicine president & CEO Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice and Black Women’s Health Imperative president & CEO Linda Goler Blount.

Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice spotlighted the current challenges surrounding health care equity, the importance of cultural competency in training the industry’s workforce and how health outcomes are connected to socioeconomic status.

  • On how social determinants influence health inequities: “We’ve never dealt with the social determinants that influences people’s access to care. We never dealt with the policies that undergird why their outcomes are determined by their geography or their zip code. We’ve never dealt with the social issues around racism and racial injustices that have led to health inequities.”
  • On the linkage between educational opportunities and health outcomes: “If we want to do something in this country, we can only do one thing. We would ensure that…students and children have the opportunity to advance along our educational system without resistance so that they can be empowered to make decisions that influence not just their socioeconomic status but also will influence their health.”

Linda Goler Blount conveyed the racial gaps in health care access and quality of care, how the pandemic highlighted long-standing systemic disparities and the impact that social factors have on a person’s health.

  • On deep-rooted disparities in health care: “Clearly, COVID-19 shown a very bright light on the disparities in the health care system that some of us have been talking about for a long time…I’m hoping that now that we’ve seen the stark disparities, that policymakers, health care leaders, public health professionals like myself, will understand the historical significance.”
  • On medical gaslighting: “Black maternal mortality and maternal health is one of the few conditions that actually has nothing to do with poverty. We talk about what happens in low resource areas, but Black, highly educated, professional, high-income earning women have worse maternal health outcomes than white women without an eighth grade education. And it simply comes back to whether or not they’re believed, whether or not they’re valued by their health care providers and taken seriously.”

In the View from the Top segment, CVS Health vice president & chief health equity officer Dr. Joneigh Khaldun illustrated the connection between geographic location and community health outcomes.

  • “In Atlanta, we’re focusing on the 30318 zip code. We know that in that zip code, it has a primarily African American population and also an older population. We also know that in that particular zip code, there’s a lower life expectancy compared to the national average and to the surrounding zip codes.”

Thank you CVS Health for sponsoring this event.

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