Excerpt from the Covenant with Black America
The health of African Americans has suffered greatly because of social disparities that rendered us, and therefore our treatment, less than equal in quality and access. There are major disparities in healthcare and health outcomes. For example, if we had eliminated disparities in health in the last century, there would have been 85,000 fewer black deaths overall in 2000. Among others, these include: 24,000 fewer black deaths from cardiovascular disease; 4,700 fewer black infant deaths in the first year of life; 22,000 fewer deaths from diabetes; and almost 2,000 fewer black women would have died from breast cancer.
Many things must change to secure the right healthcare, healthy living, and well-being in America. The solution to this pervasive problem of health disparities is that we must advocate for system changes that include universal health insurance, guaranteed primary medical homes, proportionate representation in health professions, bias-free interventions, nonviolent and exercise-friendly neighborhoods, nutritious food outlets, educational equality, career opportunities, parity in income and wealth, home ownership, and hope. There are individual, community, and governmental responsibilities for achieving these goals. Somehow we must bring these different levels of responsibility together in a concerted effort to eliminate disparities in healthcare and health outcomes.
I believe that there are reasons to be hopeful that with concerted efforts from the black community and other leaders, we will successfully reverse the current trends.
-excerpt from David M. Satcher's essay in the Covenant with Black America
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