Building a more equitable healthcare system begins with “valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and social determinants of health—and to eliminate disparities in health and health care,” according to Healthy People 2030. Disparities exist across the U.S. healthcare system—reflected, for example, in higher rates of heart disease for African Americans, increased complications from diabetes in Hispanic populations, and higher suicide rates for military veterans and in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations.
AIR experts understand the critical role of social determinants of health—where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age—in quality-of-life outcomes and risks. We know that unmet health-related social needs, such as housing, food insecurity, and transportation, undermine the health of people and communities. We work with stakeholders across the healthcare system to identify and address health disparities, especially for historically disadvantaged communities.
For example, AIR assists the National Institutes of Health with the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics-Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) Coordination and Data Collection Center (CDCC) in an effort to reduce disparities for underserved and vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by the COVID pandemic. AIR researchers also support the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in improving the utility of the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report, including conducting an environmental scan of publicly available databases of state policies related to social determinants of health as a resource for researchers.