For decades, disparities in healthcare have been well documented in the U.S. and regrettably, remain prevalent despite evidence and appeals for their elimination. This is leading healthcare payers and providers to broaden the scope of health-influencing factors they address to include social determinants of health (SDOH) – economic and environmental conditions that both directly and indirectly impact one’s health – like income, access to health food, and access to transportation. SDOH analytics show that these conditions influence health inequities and have a massive effect on population health outcomes. Compared to the majority, racial and ethnic minorities continue to have poorer health status and health outcomes for most chronic conditions. Many factors, such as affordability, accessibility and diversity in the healthcare system influence care and outcomes, creating challenges that make the task of eliminating health disparities and achieving health equity daunting and elusive. Novel strategies are needed to bring about much needed change to the complex and evolving healthcare system.
Over the past several decades, diversity in the U.S. population has increased significantly and is expected to increase exponentially in the near future. As the population becomes more diverse, it is important to recognize the possibilities of new and emerging disparities. It is imperative that steps are taken to eliminate the current gap in care and prevent new disparities from developing. This conference will present challenges and offer recommendations for facilitating the process of eliminating health disparities and achieving health equity across diverse populations.
To advance SDOH efforts, organizations must think differently and consider how well they truly understand the needs of their patient populations and the role that SDOH programs will play in helping close health equity gaps in their community. As our population becomes more diverse and at greater risk for poor health outcomes due to the impact of negative social determinants of health, there is a growing need to coordinate services across the care continuum. Connecting and integrating social supports and services into healthcare is essential to address the broad range of social determinants that play such an important role in health and well-being. This conference will address how much of this can be achieved through various methods of increased collaboration among healthcare professionals. This conference will enable healthcare professionals can create a more holistic awareness of the biological, behavioral and social factors that impact health working together to build a more equitable healthcare system that enables better health outcomes for all.
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