Health Inequities Widen As COVID-19 Hits Vulnerable Communities
The Social Determinants of Health, as a phrase, is polite - a synonym for how income inequality dictates health status. As a concept, it is more complex, encompassing the myriad social structures around us, many that influence our ability to reach actualization. Basic services and our access to them is fundamental (Maslow), beginning with the physiological - air, water, food, sleep, shelter, clothing, reproduction - and safety - personal security, employment, resources, health. The methods for which we fulfill our basic needs is more or less dependent upon financial security. Money pays for safe housing, buys healthy groceries, affords a good education. But sometimes it doesn’t. Or it can’t. Because there isn’t enough of it to go around. And this is when income and healthcare become inextricably intertwined, setting into motion a feedback loop between poverty and chronic disease that only targeted and widespread distribution of resources can break. Public health initiatives, robust data sets, and technology to connect it all helps, but in the wake of COVID-19, the ecosystem relies on a few new players too, like private citizens and increased access.