Addressing health disparities in a vulnerable population
Identify a health gap for a vulnerable population (young, old, homeless. LGBTQ, a specific ethnic/cultural group etc.) in your local community by consulting local, regional, state or national data. (Local community AUGUSTA GEORGIA)
The following website can be helpful in locating and selecting data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (n.d). Sources for data on social determinant of health. https://www.cdc.gov/socialdeterminants/data/index.htm
- List the characteristics of your selected population using multiple sources of data as support. For example, a community’s health is determined by several influences other than the quality of healthcare. Health disparities are differences in health or health-related outcomes associated with socioeconomic or environmental disadvantage. These disadvantages may be due to economics, education, healthcare access, or health outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities, age (both old and young), mental disabilities, or substance use disorders.
- Identify two social determinants that impact your identified community and explain how those determinants contribute to the health gap.
- Identify and describe a policy strategy that has focused on the health gap for your selected vulnerable population in your community.
Characteristics of your Selected Population
The identified population in this assignment is the African American (Blacks) ethnicity. The total population of African Americans in Augusta is 112 850, which makes up 55.6% of the entire population in the city. The education attainment for this group is 82.33% at least graduate from high school, while 15.72% have a bachelor’s degree. African Americans constitute the second-largest ethnicity graduating from universities at 35.3%. In 2019, 1,607 university degrees were awarded to African American students. The poverty levels are highest among this group, with 30,442 being poor; this accounts for 27.76% of this ethnic group. 60.7% of African Americans in Augusta are employed, 26.7% are married, 50% are never married, and the rest are divorced, widowed, or separated. The median annual household income for Augusta residents is $42,728, which is slightly lower than that across the US at $65,712. Compared to other ethnicities in the city, African Americans make less on common jobs such as elementary teachers, truck drivers, and sales workers (Data USA, 2021).
Identify two social determinants that impact your identified community and explain how those determinants contribute to the health gap
Social determinant of health refers to conditions in which people are born, grow, and age. These determinants have a significant effect on health and health outcomes. Some of the social determinants that can contribute to the health gap among African Americans include low education and poverty levels. The level of education is related to health in that higher education levels allow people to secure better jobs with higher payments. The higher salaries they earn can be used to purchase health insurance, increasing access to healthcare services; the salaries can be used to buy or rent safer neighborhoods with less pollution and other risk factors that predispose individuals to diseases. Higher salaries also enable people to afford better diets and access to green spaces and other recreational facilities which promote physical activity for improved health. Higher levels of education also improve how an individual understands different factors that affect his/her health and is, therefore, more likely to be actively involved in activities that promote health, such as regular screening (Donkin et al., 2018).
The poverty level among this population is highest at 27.76% compared to other ethnic groups in Augusta. Poverty is associated with poor health outcomes such as increased mental illnesses, reduced life expectancy, and choric diseases in the community. Poverty is mainly characterized by reduced availability of economic resources, therefore ability to afford health care insurances, leading to decreased access to care services. Poverty reduces the ability of an individual to afford decent housing, with the majority living in a heavily polluted area, which exposes them to toxic substances increases the risk of diseases. Poverty also reduces the ability to afford quality meals and dedicate time to health-promoting activities such as screening and physical activities, increasing the risk for poor health outcomes (Donkin et al., 2018).
Identify and describe a policy strategy that has focused on the health gap for your selected vulnerable population in your community
A major health challenge in Augusta is the low number of insured individuals, which limits the access of the poor to healthcare services. To address this challenge, the state of Georgia has undertaken a partial expansion of Medicaid, which aims at decreasing the number of uninsured individuals in the state. Although the partial expansion will cover lesser people than a full expansion would have covered, it will still decrease the coverage gap that exists in Georgia and other cities in the state, such as Augusta. Approximately 678 000, residents of Georgia will be covered through the expansion (Health Insurance Organization, 2021).
- Data USA, (2021) AUGUSTA-RICHMOND COUNTY, GA-SC, Retrieved from: https://datausa.io/profile/geo/augusta-richmond-county-ga-sc#health
- Donkin, A., Goldblatt, P., Allen, J., Nathanson, V., & Marmot, M. (2018). Global action on the social determinants of health. BMJ global health, 3(Suppl 1), e000603. https://gh.bmj.com/content/3/Suppl_1/e000603?cpetoc=&utm_campaign=bmjgh&utm_term=usage-042019&utm_content=consumer&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=trendmd
- Health Insurance Organization, (2021) Georgia and the ACA’s Medicaid expansion Retrieved from: https://www.healthinsurance.org/medicaid/georgia/