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An Emphasis on Health Equity on Juneteenth

June 19, 2024

Juneteenth, known as America’s Second Independence Day, provides an opportunity to recognize a critical milestone in the nation’s history while noting the work ahead to advance health equity in Pennsylvania and beyond.

HAP and Pennsylvania’s hospitals are focused on initiatives to address bias in care and the ways structural racism creates unacceptable health disparities. There is considerable work ahead. A recent report from the state Department of Health noted the urgency to address disparities in all forms of care, with a focus on maternal health outcomes. “Racial disparities in adverse maternal health outcomes persist in Pennsylvania,” the report notes.

This year, HAP and the hospital community continue to emphasize:

  • The need to address conscious and subconscious bias in health care, which requires institutional commitment to change processes and culture.
  • The ways structural racism negatively affects access to care, and the social determinants of health that contribute to wellbeing.
  • That structural racism and bias in health care are unacceptable.

HAP and Pennsylvania’s hospitals are committed to addressing health inequities caused by structural bias and racism, and supporting social determinants of health (unhealthy air or limited access to healthy food, income, housing, etc.).

This year, HAP’s Racial Health Equity Learning Action Network (RHELAN), brings together Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems to identify and confront systemic inequality and structural racism in health care. Learn more about this important initiative and how bias and racism affect health.

Additionally, Pennsylvania’s hospitals also are addressing disparities in maternal health through quality initiatives, such as the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative (which includes nearly all the commonwealth’s birthing hospitals) and HAP’s Task Force on Maternal and Child Health.