HSC launches campaign focused on overcoming health disparities
By Alex Branch
Health disparities exist all around us.
They exist for the woman working two jobs who delivers a preterm baby after complications caused by chronic stress.
The Texas farmer whose high blood pressure goes undetected because he can’t drive two hours to the nearest doctor.
The young boy suffering life-threatening asthma attacks and living with a parent who smokes.
The family besieged by diabetes caused by a diet of corner store food and soda.
These are all different people living in different places and facing different problems. But all afflicted by health disparities — preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence or opportunities to achieve optimum health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations.
HSC, driven by its core value to Serve Others First, is committed to helping deliver health care and improving access to all Texans through service and education. For the next three months, HSC will embark on a comprehensive campaign to raise awareness of health disparities and spark a conversation around how our community can overcome them.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a bright light on the challenges and barriers certain communities have long faced in accessing the health care services needed to achieve their healthiest lives,” HSC Chief Strategy Officer Dr. Sylvia-Trent Adams said. “However, this recognition is also an opportunity for HSC, our partners and our community to create innovative solutions to these disparities that impact far too many people across Texas and our country.”
Who are these socially disadvantaged populations? They can be defined by factors such as race or ethnicity, gender, education or income, disability, geographic location or sexual orientation, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“A common misconception is that health disparities only relate to race and ethnicity,” said Dr. Jamboor Vishwanatha, Director of the HSC Texas Center for Health Disparities. “The truth is that anyone can suffer a health disparity. And those disparities impact all of us through our economy, workforce, heath care system and quality of life.”
Throughout the campaign, HSC will highlight its many initiatives — from the Pediatric Mobile Clinic to its Rural Scholars program that prepares future doctors to practice in rural Texas — intended to break down barriers to health care. HSC will introduce its team of experts dedicated to fighting health disparities and share opportunities for community members to get involved and contribute through their time, talent or financial support.
Together, we can expand access to quality health care to all Texans — no matter who or where they are.