Spurred by New Report, Health Equity Work Continues in MN
Monday, December 20, 2021
A new report details health equity issues in Minnesota, shedding light on racial disparities when it comes to care access and outcomes. Regional health officials hope the solutions they're focused on will help close the gaps.
The Commonwealth Fund report issued scorecards for each state. In Minnesota, the white population is above the 90th percentile in how it's served by health systems. But Black and Latino populations fall below the 40th percentile.
Diane Tran - the system executive director for Community Health Equity and Engagement at M-Health Fairview - said these disparities were largely known prior to the report, but they reinforce the need for the state to eliminate health barriers.
"It's unacceptable," said Tran. "And clearly, action needs to happen in a comprehensive way to address these challenges."
Tran, also a board member with the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, said her provider is among those trying to build solutions that include more diverse hiring among medical professionals.
She said having staff that can better relate to the cultural needs of BIPOC communities can help with trust issues.
Tran said just improving relations in a medical office setting isn't enough. She stressed the importance of improving health outcomes across an entire community through outreach, such as mobile immunization clinics.
"Especially in this time," said Tran, "bring COVID vaccinations to communities where there just largely hasn't been a great deal of trust."
Tran said all stakeholders, including government agencies, need to invest more in education and incentives for healthier outcomes, as opposed to simply looking at care through a transactional lens.
"When you are a little bit more piecemeal in that nature, right?" said Tran, "it goes against the holistic ways in which we as humans truly are."
She said any approach must involve input and solutions from grassroots groups at the community level, noting there are many in Minnesota doing strong work in this area.
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