Dec 7, 2015, 8:00 AM, Posted by Andrea Ducas
With the right data to inform priorities, and a powerful commitment to equity, places like Tulsa, Okla., are making progress to close health gaps.
What would your ideal future look like? For me and my colleagues at the Foundation, it would be one where everyone has the opportunity to live the healthiest life they can.
An unfortunate reality in this country, however, is that while we continue to realize substantial gains in health, the things that help people become and stay healthy are not evenly distributed across states or even metropolitan areas. Access to healthy foods, opportunities for exercise, good-paying jobs, good schools, and high quality health care services may be readily available in one area, and difficult to come by or nonexistent in another just a few miles away.
Sometimes the differences are particularly stark: In some communities, two children growing up just a short subway or car ride apart could be separated by a 10-year difference in life expectancy.
So how do we square this reality with the Culture of Health we’re working hard with others to build? An important first step is recognizing those disparities and what’s driving them, and ensuring that people in communities across America have strategies – and the data – they can use to proactively close health gaps.
Let’s use Oklahoma, and within it the city of Tulsa, as an example.