Racism is a Social Determinant of Health
I enjoyed moderating a great panel discussion last evening on the topic of Health Disparities in the African American Community, for Junior League of Nashville. In my opening remarks, I shared a little bit about exactly what social determinants of health are.
There are very real and structural reasons for these disparities and these reasons have absolutely nothing to do with some sort of genetic or physiologic inferiority. The concept of race is, in fact, a made-up construct with no biological or physiological basis. It’s a social construct created to divide and conquer. The disparities are a result of factors such as geography, where African-Americans live and play, lifestyle factors, education, access to healthcare, economic stability, and a distrust of the healthcare system by some in the African-American community. And racism….
Racism, not race, is a major social determinant of health.
How can we affect change? Social Determinants of Health are responsible for 80-90% of health outcomes while clinical care only accounts for 10-20% of health outcomes! Knowing this, it’s appropriate to say that financial resources, proper funding, and physical resources (and as was mentioned in the chat box during the discussion – “Where the money resides!!”) invested into long-term programs that address food desserts, inequities in education, poverty, and safety issues that disproportionately affect minority neighborhoods can make a huge difference and result in meaningful impact.
I’m proud that we, as a League, held this panel discussion to breakdown the issues surrounding Health Disparities and ways to positively affect change ♥️
To Dig Deeper into Health disparities & Social Determinants of Health, check out the following resources:
Structural Racism: The Root Cause of the Social Determinants of Health from Harvard Law: https://blog.petrieflom.law.harvard.edu/2020/09/22/structural-racism-social-determinant-of-health/
Racism as a Social Determinant of Health Inequities from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: https://healthequity.globalpolicysolutions.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/RacismasSDOH.pdf
Social Determinants of Equity & Social Determinants of Health from the Department of Health and Human Services (96 page PDF) : https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/Assets/pdf/Checked/1/CamaraJones.pdf