Black and Hispanic communities are disproportionately affected by systemic healthcare inequities and experience poorer health outcomes than white populations as a result 291
Underrepresented communities across the Capital Region experience systemic barriers to living healthy lives, including racism and discrimination in care delivery and deep inequities in social determinants of health.DD Structural flaws in the healthcare system limit access to sufficient health coverage, affordable and equitable healthcare, quality food and nutrition education, and community resources.
As a result, our region faces enormous and longstanding disparities in health-related outcomes between underserved populations and white populations, including variations in life expectancy, birth rates, morbidity, and more. There are substantial societal costs of these disparities: in 2021, a Kaiser Family Foundation report calculated that health disparities cost the US $93B in excess medical costs and $42B in lost productivity per year.3
is Health Equity? The Partnership defines health equity as the fair and just opportunity for everyone in our region to fulfill their human potential in all aspects of health and well-being. Health equity means that every community member can achieve an overall state of well-being encompassing clinical, mental, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual health
Health equity has become a central focus across the U.S. due to COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on Black and Hispanic communities, coupled with a national social justice reckoning that highlighted institutional racism, among other challenges. Health equity impacts business outcomes including workforce participation and productivity, consumer expectations, healthcare costs, and more.
Health equity cannot be addressed without an integrated focus on the economic, social, and environmental conditions beyond healthcare—the social determinants of health—as well as the structures, cultures, and technologies that influence care and well-being. Advancing health equity and reducing racial disparities in health-related outcomes requires coordinated action across all priority pillars, which reflect social determinants of health. The following section details how employers can support inclusive growth within health equity and the potential impact of making such investments.
Hispanic residents are 14-43% more likely to not have health insurance coverage than white residentsDD
Life expectancy for Black newborns is more than a decade lower than white newborns in the regionDD
Black infant mortality rates are 85-200% higher than those of white residents; D.C. has the highest rate with 13.9 deaths per 1,000 live births among black residentsDD
Food insecurity is a significantly larger challenge for communities of color - Black residents are 93-187% more likely to be receiving SNAP assistance than white residents DD