Editor’s Note: Health Equity
Health equity and the health care disparities that are obstacles to its attainment are among the key issues in medicine today. Still aspirational, health equity will be achieved when all individuals are able to achieve their highest possible level of wellness no matter their education, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, language—when there’s equal access to care regardless of income, residence, or gender. Lawmakers, health care policy makers, advocates, social service agencies, nonprofit organizations, and others are seeking solutions and implementing programs aimed at achieving health equity—for example, those focused on improving health literacy, ensuring cultural competence, addressing the social determinants of health, improving access to care for people with disabilities, and reducing disparities related to gender, mental health, and race and ethnicity.
At the same time, researchers are analyzing these disparities, looking into the ways systemic racism has influenced access to care, diagnosis and treatment, and health care outcomes pertaining to cancer, mental health, chronic diseases, and more, and proposing solutions.
The media has a key role in in the effort to achieve health equity and a responsibility to report on pertinent programs and research. Today’s Geriatric Medicine has published articles on disparities in asthma, breast cancer, diabetes, cardiometabolic disease, end of life care, Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, and more, and we’ll continue to share news about the latest studies. In this issue, contributor Jamie Santa Cruz explores efforts to reduce racial disparities in statin prescription and adherence, a topic of great significance since heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and because statins have great potential to reduce the enormous burden of cardiovascular disease.
Look for more on the path toward health equity in future issues.
— Kate Jackson