Closing the Health Equity Gap
Merriam-Webster defines “equitable” as “having or exhibiting equity; dealing fairly and equally with all concerned.” Unfortunately, we know that equity is lacking in many areas today, especially in health. This work is not just for physicians and policymakers. The good news is we can all play a part in closing the health equity gap. Not sure where to start? Here are five ways you can help in your local community and make a difference today:
Volunteer Your Services
Making a difference in our local communities can be as simple as volunteering to help. Do you speak a second language? Offer to help translate information or directions. Does a neighbor need to see a doctor but can’t drive? Offer to give them a ride.
Host Tech Workshops
As technology continues to evolve, health institutions are taking advantage of technological advancements to improve processes. Forms, appointment confirmations and even test results are often shared through digital platforms. This can pose a problem for those who are not so tech-savvy. Host a workshop at your local church to teach tech basics to those who may not feel comfortable navigating digital platforms on their own.
Recommend a Health Fair Event
When was the last time your local church hosted a health fair? These events are an excellent way to make information and simple checks more accessible to your local community. At the next church board meeting, recommend hosting a health fair.
Start a Food Pantry
Health equity is about more than just being able to see your primary care physician and getting your blood pressure checked. It’s also about having access to healthy and nutritious food. Consider starting a food pantry at your local church, with fruits, vegetables, water and whole grains to distribute and make available for your local community.
Create a Space for Proactive Discussions
Providing information and education on prevalent health issues is another crucial element of health equity. Do you have a physician in your church congregation? Can you connect with a physician at your local hospital? Invite them to your church to talk about prevalent health issues in your community.
Doing Our Part
In a recent “Finding Hope” panel discussion, Alric Simmonds, M.D., chief health equity officer for AdventHealth; David Sinclair, M.D., chief medical officer for AdventHealth Altamonte Springs; and Reverend Gabriel Salguero, Ph.D., pastor at the Gathering Place, addressed how medical and faith communities can work together to close the health equity gap.
“We have got to get to a place where our health system also goes into that space and utilizes that to provide education and perhaps social services, clinical care, end-of-life decision-making care, in a place where the congregants, the believers, the faithful are already primed and open to those kinds of lessons,” said Dr. Simmonds. “We cannot be a safe and high reliable health care system, no health care system can, as long as health inequities exist.”
By Elizabeth Camps, AdventHealth Stakeholder Communications Senior Specialist