Jennifer Bracey: What Is Health Equity, and Why Is It Important?
Jennifer Bracey, a clinician-educator with experience in two large and diverse southern cities, sheds light on health equity and why it’s crucial.
What is health equity?
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, health equity “means increasing opportunities for everyone to live the healthiest life possible, no matter who we are, where we live, or how much money we make.”
So it’s the idea that everyone should have an equal opportunity to be healthy regardless of race, ethnicity, income, education, gender, and age. Everyone must have the chance to make healthy decisions in life.
Health equity is also about action, according to Nationwide Children’s. In other words, public health professionals and policymakers must remove obstacles that lead to health differences or iniquities. Examples include:
- Geographic location
For example, Nationwide Children’s says, “It’s not enough to have jobs available; we must train people for those jobs, especially people who are disadvantaged or who don’t typically have an opportunity to work in health care.”
You can’t achieve health equality if you don’t deal with social factors that affect people’s health. Here are a few examples.
- Access to quality education
- Access to quality health
- Neighborhood safety
- Access to well-paying jobs
- Skills of the disadvantaged laborforce
Why is health equity important?
Health equity is vital because it ensures that everyone has the same opportunity to live a healthy life. It also provides a level playing field for everyone to achieve their full potential.
Equity in health is about reducing the gaps in health outcomes between marginalized populations and privileged groups.
With the population becoming more diverse, it’s critical to consider how the same health conditions affect different groups of people. Jennifer Bracey adds that some groups don’t get equal healthcare access and life opportunities.
Here are reasons why this issue should be important for you:
- Health equity can improve your quality of life.
- It can reduce health costs for everyone.
- Equity in health can help you live longer and stay healthier.
- Health equity will help you avoid preventable hospitalizations and emergency room visits.
- It’ll make it easier for you and your family members to get the care you need when you need it.
- Health equity is significant because it is a human right.
- Equity in health is necessary for public health.
- You can achieve health equity by reducing differences in healthcare access, disability, and mortality rates.
- It’s essential for social justice. Improving health equity will lead to a better quality of life for all people.
About Jennifer Bracey
Clinical instructor Jennifer Bracey has a wealth of knowledge. Bracey’s passion is working behind the scenes to advance health legislation to establish a fair healthcare system for everyone.
She has co-authored many research papers on public health and participated in a fascinating range of workshops and seminars. Bracey is still working at her job while caring for her mother, who currently resides in Charleston.