Dear Friends,

COVID-19 marched throughout our country over the past 20 months exposing the strengths and weaknesses of our healthcare system. One of the phenomena that became so visible was the impact of health disparities on health outcomes and sadly health disparities became a major risk for mortality.

Health disparities are preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or in opportunities to achieve optimal health experienced by socially disadvantaged racial, ethnic, and other population groups, and communities. Health disparities exist in all age groups, including older adults.
Many factors contribute to health disparities, including genetics, access to care, poor quality of care, community features (e.g., inadequate access to healthy foods, poverty, limited personal support systems and violence), environmental conditions (e.g., poor air quality), language barriers and health behaviors. Our guest column this month speaks to this phenomenon and looks at some of the ways our country will need to move to create systems to mitigate the factors that lead to health disparities. 

We at HIGN wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.