Addressing health disparities has been an important focus of my life and throughout my career. From my early family medicine practice in Appalachia, to working in inner-city hospitals, to my time in academia, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and now at the CDC Foundation, focusing on and managing health disparities has been front and center to my work.
With the national attention the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to health disparities, we have an opportunity to bring new energy and resources to address this critical issue. Driving progress creatively and successfully starts with data. The America’s Health Rankings Health Disparities Report provides a deep, data-driven analysis that is critical to making lasting progress in addressing health disparities. Through new analyses, the Health Disparities Report provides a fresh perspective that can help state and national leaders have an informed understanding of the continued health disparities throughout our country. It will help ensure they have an important tool needed to help inform effective strategies.
At the CDC Foundation, we’re redoubling efforts to ensure health equity is embedded into our programs in an intentional and deliberate way so we can make meaningful change. Timely, comprehensive data is required for this effort. With hundreds of active public health protection programs, addressing the needs of different population groups, including Black, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native and other communities, requires a deep understanding of population health that America’s Health Rankings helps to advance.
By analyzing data, examining disparities and addressing the root causes of health outcomes, we can lift each other up. By advancing this work, we can make our neighborhoods, our country and our economy stronger and more resilient.
Achieving long-lasting progress in addressing health disparities is within our grasp, and it is more important than ever. If we’re not addressing health disparities, as Americans, as health providers or as public health professionals, we’re not operating at our best.