Health Equity. Redefining "Underserved Communities" as "Priority Communities."
Updated: Jul 22
Dr. Darrell Gray II, Chief Health Equity Officer at Elevance Health (formerly Anthem)
Tony Waller, Vice President, Constituent Relations and Racial Equity, Walmart
Dr. Sheena Menezes, Founder and CEO of Simple HealthKit
Ms. Uriridiakoghene Onovakpuri, Partner, Kapor Capital
Four people who are intensely interested in Health Equity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control:
“Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to “attain his or her full health potential” and no one is “disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.” Health inequities are reflected in differences in length of life; quality of life; rates of disease, disability, and death; severity of disease; and access to treatment.”
That’s a large group of people, in vastly different circumstances and places, with various levels of insurance and financial means, being served by organizations of all types and sizes.
Two weeks ago, Dr. Gray, Mr. Waller, Dr. Menezes and Moderator, Ms. Onovakpuri, who goes by Ulili, took part in a panel discussion on Health Equity as part of the “Beyond the Divide” symposium hosted by Techplug, an innovation firm that’s working to “address health disparities in vulnerable populations.”
Among the topics discussed were:
The Convergence: How the combined emphasis on Health, Tech and Culture can develop inclusive health solutions.
How to use this combination to address Sexually Transmitted Infections, which are on the rise at HBCUs (for example).
The systemic inequities affecting Maternal Health and health delivery in general that prevent equitable care — and what to do about it.
So how does Simple HealthKit and these renowned leaders tackle the enormous problem of Health Equity?
The first thing is to change the vernacular — from “Underserved Communities” to “Priority Communities.” To make these people, in these places, served by these institutions our TOP priority.
To do that, we’re creating partnerships — and, we’re making progress — by combining technology, culture and partnerships, we’re able to do a lot for Priority Communities. By going beyond diagnostics alone, which leaves more questions than answers — to EVERYTHING people need to assess and claim their health.
We make the test part easier— Community members can choose at-home or on-site-clinic full-service testing option
We get results back faster — We built our own CLIA/CAP certified labs to get all results in under 24 hours and even same day
We provide one-stop test, treatment, medication, even cure — We’ve assembled a full, end-to-end STI and COVID solution for people to get tested AND treated
We leave no one behind, financially — We’ve found ways around the expense and will NEVER send a patient to collections
We understand each community and customize our solutions to the unique outreach, engagement and budget considerations of each one — THIS IS THE BIG ONE
We provide health for any budget — One way is by providing on-site staff at no cost and free test packs so you can experience our difference
And we’re doing all that with and for so many types of institutions:
Large brands, like Walmart
HBCUs, like SUNO (Southern University of New Orleans)
Federally qualified health centers
Large health systems
Safety net hospitals
Where does your institution, organization or company fit along this continuum? And how can we help each other bring Health Equity to Priority Communities?
We’re all ears — and hands — and hearts.
After all, everyone deserves better health. It’s that Simple.