Health Equity

Not all West Virginians experience chronic diseases or their risk factors at the same rates.

 

A person’s social identities and situations - including characteristics like their income, race, (dis)ability, education, age, gender, sex, and sexuality - can influence rates of chronic disease, the severity of chronic disease, and access to treatment. How a person experiences chronic disease is shaped by the circumstances a person is born into, how others treat a person, and the opportunities a person can access.

Not all West Virginians experience chronic diseases or their risk factors at the same rates.

 

A person’s social identities and situations - including characteristics like their income, race, (dis)ability, education, age, gender, sex, and sexuality - can influence rates of chronic disease, the severity of chronic disease, and access to treatment. How a person experiences chronic disease is shaped by the circumstances a person is born into, how others treat a person, and the opportunities a person can access.

What is health equity? 

“Health equity” means closing the gaps between advantaged, “well-off,” or otherwise privileged populations and marginalized or vulnerable groups or people. People who are part of advantaged social or demographic groups tend to have more financial and health resources and be less likely to experience chronic disease. On the other hand, people in marginalized or less advantaged social groups are vulnerable to experiencing chronic disease and the circumstances that put people at higher risk for chronic disease. 

For more info on Health Equity from the CDC, click here.

What is a vulnerable population? 

Defining what a” vulnerable population” is changes based on the specific circumstances around different health outcomes.

 

In West Virginia, vulnerable populations include people of color, people with a disability, immigrants, the elderly, people experiencing poverty, LGBTQ populations, and people with a less than high school education.

 

When thinking about vulnerable populations, it is important to realize and keep in mind that people can be a part of multiple vulnerable populations at one time.

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How do we address health disparities & bring health equity into our work?

  • Research the target population, or those who will partake in the initiatives we implement, and include vulnerable populations in the program’s target audience.

  • Ask people in your community who belong to vulnerable populations what they need. To do this, you might invite representatives from vulnerable populations to join you “at the table” when developing initiatives and applying for Capacity-Building Grant funding.

  • Reach out to organizations that address health disparities in West Virginia and work with vulnerable populations to invite them to partake in your initiatives.

  • Increase access to tools, health screenings, preventative initiatives, and resources for West Virginia’s most vulnerable populations.

For more West Virginia health data, please click here:
http://www.wvdhhr.org/bph/hsc/pubs/brfss/2016/BRFSS2016.pdf