Health Equity

Health Equity In Lane County

| August 15, 2017

This report is the first effort in Lane County to systematically document health disparities among racial and ethnic populations and to describe the disproportionate burden of disease among communities of color. We hope it will foster dialogue and guide future public health policy and practice to enhance health equity for all. Health is a state of complete physical, social, and mental well-being. It is not simply the lack of disease, illness, or injury. The greatest predictors of the health of a community are social and economic factors, and where we live work and play. When some populations are marginalized, or consistently blocked from social and economic opportunities, rights, resources or privileges, health inequities are the result. Health disparities are the outcomes of these health inequities. They are differences in health that are the result of a system that advantages some and disadvantages others.

 

Primary Findings

The primary findings of the report are as follows:

  • Health inequity and health disparities exist in Lane County, and oftentimes the differences are greater than national and state levels.
  • The population of Lane County will continue to diversify. Should health disparities among racial and ethnic populations persist, the burden of health disparities will become even greater.
  • Compared to people who are White, all other racial and ethnic groups experience greater rates of poverty. Fewer economic resources disadvantages marginalized populations and limits their ability to access healthcare and maintain their well-being.
  • While most people who are Hispanic/Latino graduate from high school, people who are Hispanic/Latino have significantly lower high school graduation rates compared to all other racial and ethnic groups.
  • Tobacco use has profound effects on rates of disability and death among the African-American and American Indian/Native Alaskan populations. These populations die younger and more often from tobacco related deaths compared to people who are White.
  • People who are American Indian/Native Alaskan or Hispanic/Latino are 50% more likely to be teenage mothers compared to people who are White. Teenage pregnancy may affect the health of the child. In addition, it may impact the health and economic opportunity of the mother and her family.
  • People who are African American have two to six times the rates of gonorrhea, chlamydia and chronic hepatitis C compared to the general population.

Conclusions

The health disparities reported here are the consequences of multi-generational social, economic and environmental inequities. The results persist today.  These inequities have a greater influence on health outcomes than either individual choices or one’s ability to access health care. A universal commitment to improve health for all is not enough to change the health inequities. Only committed social justice actions, and changes in policies, practices and organizational systems can improve opportunities for all Lane County residents. The health inequity our community has created it can also undo.

For more information contact Brian K. Johnson, MPH, Epidemiologist.

Full Report Here: Healthy Equity Report

Category: Community Groups/Coalitions, Equity, Media

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