The Colorado Health Foundation held its annual Health Symposium last week, bringing leaders in healthcare from around the country together to talk about solutions in providing health care. The theme of this year’s symposium was “Let’s talk about inequity…”
President and CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation Karen McNeil-Miller says that so many factors that impact our help happen outside of what we think of as traditional healthcare, outside of the doctor’s office, and outside of whether we have health insurance.
“We know that there’s a direct line of sight between level of education attainment and eventual health outcomes. So if you live in a community that has habitually low graduation rates, we can predict that the health outcomes of that community over time will be less than.” Similarly communities where there is a lack of affordable housing and low income levels will also see worse health outcomes. “So if we find a community that is under employed, unemployed, in poverty or low income, we can predict very successfully their health outcome.”
Creating jobs and increasing income level, as well as improving graduation rates across the board will improve health outcomes says McNeil-Miller “the more educated a person is, the better their health outcome is.”
McNeil-Miller says she hopes that the Symposium will lead to conversations about those inequities and how they can be addressed, particularly the racial component. “When you start looking at disparities and inequities, there are disproportionate negative health outcomes that accrue to People of Color – across the country and across the state, so number one we want to ask the organizations and the individuals that were there (at the symposium) to not shy away from that conversation.”