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Apr 12, 2022

Everyday Health

Health EquityHealth Equality

Why Health Equity Matters

A spotlight continues to shine on health inequities and disparities in marginalized and underserved communities. We must first acknowledge the reality of structural racism in medicine and identify the role medical provider’s play.

The Difference: Health Equality vs. Health Equity

There is confusion about health equity versus health equality. I discovered this throughout my health journey through breast cancer and my current survivorship stage. These terms appear similar because they aim to improve health outcomes and increase access to care.

Medical News Today gives a clear definition of each that makes sense for providers, patients, and caregivers to understand. I have broken it down even further.

Health Equality

Health Equality means giving everyone the same standard of care without considering risk factors, genetics, race, or ethnicity. Some providers might feel that is the best lens to treat patients to remove any inherent bias. This is a cookie-cutter approach that is inadequate and can put patients in harm’s way.

Health Equity

Health Equity means giving people what they need to reach their best health outcome.

It’s customized based on that person’s risk factors, race, gender, and ethnicity. It means looking at each patient and customizing a treatment plan specific to their body’s needs. This is an important distinction because each body has complex issues and medical history.

Growing need for Health Equity

The need for health equity has become urgent to eliminate racial health disparities that continue to plague Black people and other people of color. This hot button issue feels like it’s falling on deaf ears to those who are the decision-makers.

In some cultures, one is taught never to question the provider’s treatment protocol or assessment. We must rise up and know it’s our right to ask providers questions and even change providers if our concerns are dismissed.

That’s why it’s essential to not only keep the conversation about health equity going but also ignite action. After all, our lives matter and deserve to receive access to the best care possible for our specific medical needs.

References
What are the differences between health equity and health equality? (2021, December 15). Medical News Today.

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