Equity is defined as the absence of systemic disparities between groups with different levels of underlying social advantage/disadvantage—wealth, power or prestige. From voter suppression to housing discrimination, racial differences in health outcomes can be explained by centuries of policies and practices that have intentionally excluded nonwhite groups from access to opportunity. Moreover, inequitable practices baked into the “institutions” that shape society sustain seemingly intractable disparities in health.
The institutions of medicine and health care are no exceptions. But as discussed below, many minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs) are challenging the status quo in health and health care, advancing health equity in transformative ways, and bridging the gap between health care and the many social factors that occur outside of care settings but have a huge impact on health.
Authors: Dr. Christopher King, Dean of School of Health, Georgetown University Medical Center and Deliya Banda Wesley, Senior Director of Health Equity, Mathematica