Achieving health equity means removing the barriers that prevent people from being healthy – systemic racism, poverty, and lack of access to economic mobility. Inside health centers, we strive for organizational equity, which includes staff that reflect the populations served, and governance that includes anti-racist policies and procedures. We also strive for equity in care delivery, which means patients receive care that is culturally appropriate and based in trust.
Community health centers have been, and will continue to be, vital to achieving health equity in the United States. Over the past few decades, they have served historically marginalized communities and provided comprehensive, culturally competent, integrated care to millions of Americans. Of the 28 million patients that health care centers serve annually, more than 80% are uninsured or publicly insured and more than 90% are from low-income communities. Additionally, health centers provide vital care to patients with chronic health conditions, particularly diabetes and hypertension.
As hyper-local hubs providing consumer driven, comprehensive care, community health centers are crucial in narrowing health disparities. Health centers are building health equity in their approach and delivery of care, and through their governance and operational model, and investments in these centers has consistently resulted in impactful returns. While health centers are most effective in their locus of power, we are hopeful they can be a force for equity in their larger communities. With increased investment in health centers and clear measurement structures to track health equity outcomes, America can get closer to a reality where all citizens have access to quality, comprehensive health care.
Ultimately, we seek a nation where we no longer have disparities in health outcomes by race and ethnicity.