In any given community, the local health system is probably one of the biggest employers. It’s probably also one of the biggest spenders and biggest concentrations of social capital. The word for that is anchor institution, and healthcare organizations need to embrace that status in order to keep the health equity ship moving.
For nearly everyone in the country, COVID-19 served as a wake-up call for health equity, or rather, what happens when health equity isn’t a priority. The pandemic drew to the forefront gaping health disparities that stemmed from a lack of investment in social determinants of health and a lack of attention to equitable outcomes across different populations.
But even as most healthcare experts agree that health equity needs to be a priority, there isn’t a standard path to getting there. According to Ed Hunter, a public health and public policy consultant with the National Alliance to impact the Social Determinants of Health (NASDOH), a lot of healthcare organizations have found themselves in different places on the road to health equity.