Identifying Health Disparities and Providing a Roadmap to Health Equity

Written by: Dr. Edith Langford

Author, Ethnographic Researcher & Clinician, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC, LMHC), and Addiction Specialist (CASAC, ADC) with four decades of experience. After a lifetime of experiencing ongoing medical mistreatment, she is working on a memoir about medical racism in our healthcare system

In my forthcoming book, Reimagining Human, I give the reader a real-life insider view of these and other race-based discrepancies affecting Black people and preventing us from reaching health equity. I look specifically at how our current health care system affects Black women’s lives at four major stages of life: infancy and early childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age.

This book makes the issue of systemic racism in health care real for the reader. It offers vignettes that put a real name and face to women of color as the traverse the American health care system from birth to old age. Further, it describes the mistreatment in detail and supports the statements with just enough documentation to add credibility but not enough to become boring. Finally, I offer techniques, contacts, and processes to be used by the reader to help make effective change within her own circles—all done with strategically placed humor that offers the alternative of laughing at points at which we typically cry.

Racist systems are killing Americans. The health care, the justice, education, political, and other racially biased systems are literally taking the lives of people of color. In this book, I take an up close and personal look at one life-threatening system: the health care system and particularly it’s inhuman treatment of Black and Brown women. I am not suggesting that these systems are purposefully killing people of color; I am, however, unapologetically stating that the systems were not designed and currently do not function to support their well-being as humans.

Further, it outwardly solicits the leadership and support of White women to act locally to set this injustice on course. I just don’t think we can survive even the current Covid-19 pandemic with continued majority White male health guidance. I will consistently document the evident need for the proper provisioning of health equity. But further I will affirm my belief that you, and I, we can work to help balance the imbalance in treatment delivery. Based on my experience with the human beings who have shown up in my office and have shown how they can come to acknowledge systemic racism and also be human in racially charged situations; I know it can be done.

What can women do? How can we scratch the itch to make massive change? Yes, a broken system needs systemic change. White middle-to-upper class women can act locally in their communities. We need to bypass the cultural and geographical barriers we have set for ourselves. We do not have time for arbitrary and often invisible barriers that block success in fixing this system. Frankly, some no longer have the desire or the passion to teach people of majority-culture about what people of minority-culture need. The point is that every culture needs every other culture to feel safe and well-treated by all our systems.

Women can rescue and enhance existing systems that have proven to balance the racial disparities in healthcare educations and treatment. I guide the reader to strengthen those institutions and give hope that we can reach the goal of true health equity.

I offer assessments, designs, and implementation strategies that do not require a social scientist to initiate that will positively effect communities of color and thus the nation. With this book, the reader may educate herself and find the existing resources needed to be supportive from where she is. She will be invited to work with her neighbors and peers to raise moral conscience, and take her family, friends, community, and local health care system from humane to human.

More on Health Equity

What is Health Equity? Episode 2 of "That's Public Health" | Watch on YouTube
Hiding in Plain Sight: What's Missing in Health Equity | Watch on YouTube

Questions? Stories? Need a mental health expert to discuss Black health issues and medical racism for your media story? Get in touch.

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