Giving Compass’ Take:
• Daniel E. Dawes writes about how deep health inequities across the U.S. — both before and during the coronavirus — stem from structures of racist political determinants.
• How are political determinants–action and inaction–responsible for so much of our daily lives? What can you do to push for policy that upends systemic racism in our current political structures?
• During COVID-19, find out how you can fund partnerships that determine equitable health outcomes.
Since January 2020, the United States has had led the world in the number of deaths attributed to the coronavirus, and morbidity and mortality rates continue to rise. Data have demonstrated that racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately impacted by the disease.
In many ways, this is unsurprising. COVID-19 is not striking all Americans equally because our economic and social policies do not affect all Americans equally. It is not a coincidence that certain groups of people living in the United States experience higher premature death rates or poorer health outcomes than others. Research has shown that air pollution; climate change; toxic waste sites; unclean water; lack of fresh fruits and vegetables; unsafe, unsecure, and unstable housing; poor-quality education; inaccessible transportation; lack of parks and other recreational areas; and other factors play an outsized role in determining our overall health and well-being.
Too often we stop at these social drivers of inequities, however, and miss the link between social determinants of health and their political roots. Every social determinant of health is preceded by a political action, inaction, or impetus. Political determinants of health create the social drivers that affect all other dynamics of health. By understanding the political determinants of health, their origins, their impact on the equitable distribution of opportunities and resources, and their interconnection with the social determinants of health, we will be better equipped to develop and implement actionable solutions to close the health gap. Further, by understanding and grappling with the role of the political determinants of health, the institutions in our society that exist for the sole purpose of advancing the greater good can assist in moving health equity from theoretical to actionable.
Read the full article about inequities in political determinants by Daniel E. Dawes, J.D. at Grantmakers In Health.
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