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Open AccessCommentary

Reducing Racial Inequities in Health: Using What We Already Know to Take Action

by 1,2,3,* and 4,5
1
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
2
Department of African and African American Studies and of Sociology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
3
Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, Groote Schuur Hospital Observatory, Cape Town 7925, South Africa
4
Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA
5
Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(4), 606; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040606
Received: 8 January 2019 / Revised: 11 February 2019 / Accepted: 13 February 2019 / Published: 19 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Care Equity)
This paper provides an overview of the scientific evidence pointing to critically needed steps to reduce racial inequities in health. First, it argues that communities of opportunity should be developed to minimize some of the adverse impacts of systemic racism. These are communities that provide early childhood development resources, implement policies to reduce childhood poverty, provide work and income support opportunities for adults, and ensure healthy housing and neighborhood conditions. Second, the healthcare system needs new emphases on ensuring access to high quality care for all, strengthening preventive health care approaches, addressing patients’ social needs as part of healthcare delivery, and diversifying the healthcare work force to more closely reflect the demographic composition of the patient population. Finally, new research is needed to identify the optimal strategies to build political will and support to address social inequities in health. This will include initiatives to raise awareness levels of the pervasiveness of inequities in health, build empathy and support for addressing inequities, enhance the capacity of individuals and communities to actively participate in intervention efforts and implement large scale efforts to reduce racial prejudice, ideologies, and stereotypes in the larger culture that undergird policy preferences that initiate and sustain inequities. View Full-Text
Keywords: race; racism; ethnicity; inequities; disparities; interventions race; racism; ethnicity; inequities; disparities; interventions
MDPI and ACS Style

Williams, D.R.; Cooper, L.A. Reducing Racial Inequities in Health: Using What We Already Know to Take Action. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 606. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040606

AMA Style

Williams DR, Cooper LA. Reducing Racial Inequities in Health: Using What We Already Know to Take Action. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(4):606. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040606

Chicago/Turabian Style

Williams, David R.; Cooper, Lisa A. 2019. "Reducing Racial Inequities in Health: Using What We Already Know to Take Action" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 16, no. 4: 606. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040606

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