Health & Health Policy

Our healthcare system is broken.  People of color are more likely to not have insurance, lack access to emergency care, and suffer from compounding factors that take years away from our lives.  Race Forward thinks through various ways to fix our system, without merely applying a band-aid.

Super Infector

April 15, 2006

By Kai Wright. Garry Wayne Carriker had a pretty promising life ahead of him. He’d graduated from the Air Force Academy back in 2001 and at age 26 was prepared to graduate from Emory University’s prestigious medical school this past spring. He probably never dreamed he’d instead spend most of the year sitting in an Atlanta jail. But at summer’s end, that’s just where he was, awaiting trial on three counts of a sex-crime that could get him 30 years behind bars. Full article available on ColorLines here.

Closing the Gap

April 15, 2006

Solutions to Race-Based Health Disparities. By Applied Research Center and Northwest Federation of Community Organizations.

Closing the Gap: Solutions to Race-Based Health Disparities, 2005

July 15, 2005

  10 Key Recommendations for Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health.
From Closing the Gap: Solutions to Race-Based Health Disparities

1. Eliminate disparities in access to health insurance.
Expand public health programs such as Medicaid and work toward a universal health care system guaranteeing basic access.

2. Improve health care in medically underserved areas, which are often communities of color.
Support community health clinics that provide high-quality care to underinsured and uninsured patients.

3. Develop health care institutions that are welcoming and respectful to people of differentraces and ethnicities.
Improve access to quality care for people of color by minimizing financial barriers to patient/doctor communication, training staff in culturally appropriate care, and building a diverse workforce.

4. Track racial disparities in health care provision.
With proper data collection, health care institutions can be held accountable for eliminating these disparities and meeting high quality-of care standards for all patients.

5. Provide medical interpretation services for all clinical encounters.
Federal, state, and local governments, as well as insurers and health care providers, should fund language services as a medical necessity.

6. Improve access to traditional and non-Western treatments.
Insurers should be required to cover alternative and culturally appropriate health care. Health care providers should be provided training and access to research about alternative and non-Western medical practices.

7. Adopt and enforce policies that promote safety and health.
The adoption of worker protections and environmental standards are necessary to address root causes of health inequality.

8. Include public health experts and community organizations in community development and planning processes.
Health concerns must be at the forefront in discussions about housing, transportation, and economic development.

9. Provide funding and support for improved nutrition, physical education, and health education in schools.
School environments that emphasize health can lead to improved health outcomes and higher academic achievement.

10. Support programs that incorporate cultural traditions.
Connecting people to their cultural heritage can be an effective way to improve individual and community health.