About Health Disparity

In the United States, people of color suffer worse health outcomes than their white counterparts for virtually every health indicator. In New York City, this issue is particularly glaring. NYC’s poorest neighborhoods, which also have the highest proportion of black and Hispanic residents, have death rates which are 30% higher than those in wealthier neighborhoods. In the South Bronx, the poorest urban congressional district in the country, the population suffers high rates of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, asthma, HIV/AIDS, and infant mortality. Though health outcomes improve in wealthier areas, blacks still die at a higher rate than whites, regardless of where they live.

Health disparity means that people of color are living sicker and dying younger than they should. Though efforts to eliminate health disparity have increased in recent years, there is still much more that needs to be done. As a Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities (CEED), Bronx Health REACH is working in the Bronx and other communities to address the root causes of health disparity. Our efforts range from promoting proper nutrition and fitness activities through education and outreach to working with legislators to enact policy and system change. Bronx Health REACH works closely with community members, faith-based organizations, health care providers, and legislators to create healthier communities and advocate for health equity.

Eliminating health disparity and improving the health outcomes of underserved communities is a serious challenge, but it is a winnable battle. Our work in the Bronx and the work of REACH programs throughout the country have demonstrated that community-level interventions, as well as policy and system change, can improve health outcomes in communities throughout the country. Through our programs and policies, we will continue our work to eliminate health disparities and make health equity a reality.

For more information about health disparity in NYC, read the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s health disparity report. For more information about health disparity in the United States, read the Institute of Medicine’s report Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care available online here.