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Achieving Fair Health Outcomes for All

By Derek Robinson, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

Did you know some racial and ethnic minoritized groups disproportionately experience higher degrees of health disparities? 

April is National Minority Health Month and a good time to discuss health inequities and their impacts on marginalized groups in Illinois. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health disparities are preventable differences in disease, injury, violence or opportunities to achieve optimal health experienced by socially disadvantaged populations. When the causes of these differences are unfair or unjust, they can also be described as health inequities.

Health is heavily influenced by where and how we live, work and play. Disparities, gaps between what some people have and others don’t, show up in different ways such as: 

  • Lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Inability to take time off work for doctor appointments.
  • Living in pharmacy deserts.
  • Unreliable transportation.
  • Living in neighborhoods unsafe to walk in or play outside.
  • Unstable housing.

Health inequities are directly related to the historical and current unequal distribution of social, political, economic and environmental resources. 

In addition to racial and ethnic minority groups, other populations that experience health disparities include residents in underserved rural communities, as well as people with disabilities, those of lower socioeconomic status and LGBTQ+ groups.

Everyone can make a difference in achieving fair and just health outcomes for all. Your civic engagement, voting and sharing of your expertise can improve the lives of others. Most importantly, recognizing, respecting and supporting the diversity of the community where you live helps us all benefit when everyone is healthy.

We’re here to help, too. Our community outreach team and Care Van® fleet work with community partners to provide housing to the unhoused, distribute fresh produce at farmers markets, deliver screening kits and allocate health literature and resources throughout Illinois.

The above material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician. Physicians and other health care providers are encouraged to use their own best medical judgment based upon all available information and the condition of the patient in determining the best course of treatment. 

A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association