COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Letter: King called for justice in health care

January 18, 2017

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Letter: King called for justice in health care

January 16, 2017

Today, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and remember his legacy of love and equality. As health commissioner, I am drawn to his inspirational quote: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

Sadly, almost 50 years later, inequality still exists in every area of health, including chronic disease rates, access to care and life expectancy.

One of the most shocking health disparities in Columbus is infant mortality. Every year, 150 babies die before their first birthday — and African-American babies die at 2.5 times the rate of white babies.

While there are many causes, the social and economic conditions in neighborhoods where one lives affects the quality of life for families in central Ohio.

CelebrateOne, Columbus Public Health and our partners are addressing the root causes of health inequities to help all babies live and thrive. For example, our Community Connector Corps serves residents in eight neighborhoods most impacted by infant mortality, by providing social support, connections to resources and education on the ABCs of safe sleep, prenatal care, housing, transportation and employment.

To improve health, we must improve the social determinants of health — and the Connector Corps is a great example of our collective power to address disparities at the neighborhood level.

All people have a right to health. By prioritizing equal and fully accessible opportunities to be healthy, we will move closer to fulfilling the legacy of King.

Dr. Teresa C. Long

Health commissioner

City of Columbus

 

See Letter