Health improvements have not been at the same rate for all D.C. residents in the last decade due to “underlying inequities”, despite some progress in health outcomes, according to a Health Equity report recently released by D.C. Health.
The report titled “Health Equity Report for the District of Columbia 2018” focused on the social and structural determinants of health in the District.
“Despite many improvements in health outcomes over the last decade for District residents overall, several indicators show that health has not improved for everyone at the same rate due to underlying inequities,” according to the press release by D.C. Health about the report. “As measured by almost any indicator, these disparities are generated by differences in income, race, and geography.”
While considering opportunities for health, the report looked at nine key drivers of health across 51 statistical-neighborhoods. The report further discloses that overall clinical care drives only 20 percent of population health outcomes and the 80 percent is generated by non-clinical factors. The data in the report shows significant disparities in health outcomes across D.C. neighborhoods.
Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Director of D.C. Health, said that health opportunities are driven by a broad spectrum of laws, policies, and practices. “We must engage multiple sectors and community partners to generate collective impact which is essential to improving the health of all District residents, including achieving health equity, as we work to become the healthiest city in America,” said Nesbitt.
According to Dr. C. Anneta Arno, Director of the Office of Health Equity, D.C. Health, the report is a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive report showing the extent of variations by income, race, and space when it comes to distribution of health opportunities.
“In order to create equitable opportunities for health in the District, we must leverage all the key drivers, and more. We must break out of our siloes, by taking equity-informed collaborative actions for change. Together, we must disrupt the persistent creation of stratified opportunities for health and wellbeing. Health equity is everybody’s work,” said Arno.
The report concludes that it’s important to work within and across all sectors “in simultaneous and complementary ways to improve opportunities for health and achieve health equity.”
D.C. Health will be adopting a “health in all policies” approach to improve overall healthcare and achieve health equity in the District.