The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the importance of health equity, as minority communities have suffered disproportionately from the virus. Black, Hispanic, and Native American individuals have experienced higher rates of both hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 than their white counterparts. Unfortunately, this disparity is not limited to the pandemic, as minority populations have historically been subject to greater rates of chronic diseases and barriers to healthcare access.
Type 2 diabetes is one example: Native Americans, Black, Hispanic, and Asian populations are at higher risk for developing diabetes and dying from complications. In fact, these populations make up the majority of individuals diagnosed with diabetes. Maternal health is another area where disparities are strongly linked to race and ethnicity. According to the CDC, Black women are 3 times more likely than their white counterparts to die in childbirth. It is estimated that 80% of these deaths are preventable, which is why now more than ever, these disparities need to be confronted.
Recently, Simple HealthKit’s Co-founder & CEO, Dr. Sheena Menezes, was recognized in San Francisco Business Times, 40 Under 40 class. From an early age seeing health disparities, Dr. Menezes knew health equity was a vital issue. She has dedicated her career to improving healthcare outcomes in underserved populations and finding ways to address health disparities, such as making testing accessible, affordable, and convenient.
Addressing health disparities means tackling underlying issues such as structural racism, language barriers, and food insecurity. We must advocate for policies that promote health equity, including increased funding for public health initiatives, expanding healthcare programs, and addressing social determinants of health.
It’s also essential to recognize and tackle implicit bias within the healthcare system. People from minority groups often receive lower-quality care and are less likely to receive timely and appropriate treatment than their white counterparts. This bias can have a marked impact on health outcomes and needs to be actively addressed.
Minority health month provides an opportunity to focus on these issues and bring attention to the need for health equity. There is still much to be done to address the root causes of health inequity. Simple HealthKit is taking the first step toward a solution with at-home tests for Sexual Health, Diabetes, and Respiratory Wellness, as well as programs for colorectal screening and kidney health.
Interested in using at-home diagnostics to advance health equity within your organization? Reach out to Simple HealthKit today!