This 12 months’s launch of the U.S. Information & World Report Healthiest Communities rankings affords an insightful take a look at the state of well being fairness in our nation. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced gentle to the well being inequities that underserved communities have skilled for many years, and the fact is that well being inequity is an American disaster.
Now greater than ever, we have to handle social determinants of well being and create a extra equitable well being care system that focuses on investing in our native communities. It should take stakeholders from throughout the well being care spectrum to eradicate well being disparities.
Recognizing the Intersection Between Well being Fairness and the Setting
Added this 12 months to tell the rankings are information factors that spotlight the dangers pure hazards, together with these tied to local weather change, pose to the well being of our communities. A U.S. Information evaluation alongside the rankings reveals the upper ranges of threat confronted from these hazards by marginalized communities, underscoring the consequential well being impacts that may end result from publicity to phenomena like warmth waves, flooding and wildfires.
Indigenous individuals are essentially the most in danger from pure hazards in the US, in response to the evaluation, whereas Black Individuals are extra in danger from warmth waves, hurricanes, tornadoes and coastal flooding than every other demographic group.
In the meantime, city communities proceed to have worse air high quality than rural communities. Analysis additionally has proven that communities of shade usually tend to be impacted by noise air pollution, in addition to face publicity to hazardous waste and chemical compounds. Most of these points are related to worse well being outcomes and decrease life expectations.
CVS Well being acknowledges that the well being of all individuals is inextricably linked to the well being of the planet. That’s why we’re taking a detailed take a look at the intersection of well being fairness and sustainability and figuring out steps we are able to take on the native degree to assist create a extra equitable and sustainable world.
Advancing Well being Fairness
Addressing well being fairness is nothing new to CVS Well being. We’ve traditionally had an area presence in underserved communities throughout the nation, offering handy entry to well being care by our CVS Pharmacy places. Through the pandemic, we labored throughout our companies – and with our community of community-based leaders and nonprofit organizations – to concentrate on addressing inequities associated to COVID-19 vaccine entry and schooling in susceptible communities, with a specific concentrate on Black and Hispanic populations. In 2021, we administered greater than 32 million COVID-19 assessments and 59 million COVID-19 vaccines.
We all know there may be extra work to be performed in advancing well being fairness. As a well being care innovation firm that touches greater than 100 million individuals throughout our traces of enterprise, we are able to enhance the trajectory of equitable well being look after individuals in America.
We’re participating with communities to grasp what their particular wants are and dealing with them to develop interventions and packages that meet these wants. It’s not a one-size-fits-all method. By our Well being Zones initiative, we’re offering concentrated native investments designed to cut back well being disparities and advance well being fairness in traditionally underserved communities throughout the nation by addressing key social determinants of well being.
Addressing a Key Barrier to Enhancing Well being Outcomes
Equitable entry to reasonably priced housing serves as one of many biggest boundaries to enhancing well being outcomes. Healthiest Communities information exhibits renters in city communities are spending not less than 30% of their earnings on housing at greater charges than in rural ones, and eviction charges are greater as nicely.
CVS Well being is addressing housing insecurities and selling neighborhood well being enchancment in susceptible populations throughout the nation. Once we make investments in native communities, we’re capable of create a significant affect and assist extra individuals reside more healthy lives and attain their full potential.
In 2021, we reaffirmed our dedication to addressing housing insecurities and growing entry to well being care companies in underserved communities by investing $185 million in reasonably priced housing in 2021. These investments are supporting the event and rehabilitation of greater than 6,570 reasonably priced housing items in 64 cities throughout 28 states and Washington, D.C.
Creating More healthy Outcomes By the Energy of Collaboration
We all know that we have to handle the underlying causes of well being disparities – together with racism, sexism and ageism – with the intention to really transfer the needle. We all know that nobody particular person, group or entity can do that alone. The non-public sector, employers, governments, hospitals, well being care employees – everybody has a job to play.
The true measure of success might be once we see progress from collaborations that handle social determinants of well being and scale back inequities. By working collectively, we might be a catalyst for change and make a long-lasting affect on the well-being of individuals and communities throughout the nation.