Addressing structural inequalities, structural racism, and social determinants of health: A vision for the future
J Gen Intern Med
Significant national discourse has focused on the idea of structural inequalities and structural racism within a variety of societal sectors, including healthcare. This perspective provides an understanding of the historic and pervasive nature of structural inequalities and structural racism; uses well-known frameworks in health equity research for conceptualizing structural inequality and structural racism; offers a summary of the consequences of structural inequalities and structural racism on modern-day health outcomes; and concludes with strategies and suggestions for a way forward. Recommended strategies across different sectors of influence include (a) employment and economic empowerment sector: creating capacity for individuals to earn livable wages; (b) education sector: developing new funding structures to ensure equal opportunities are offered to all; (c) healthcare sector: prioritizing universal access to high-quality health care, including mental health treatment; (d) housing sector: improving access to affordable, safe housing through public-private partnerships; (e) criminal justice sector: focusing reform on restorative justice that is people-centric instead of punitive; and (f) environmental sector: creating sustainable systems that alleviate downstream consequences of climate change. The recommended strategies account for the mutually reinforcing and pervasive nature of structural inequalities/structural racism and target key sectors of influence to enhance overall health outcomes and achieve equity regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
Egede LE, Walker RJ, Williams JS. Addressing structural inequalities, structural racism, and social determinants of health: a vision for the future. J Gen Intern Med. 2023;10.1007/s11606-023-08426-7. DOI:10.1007/s11606-023-08426-7. PMID: 37740168