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Health: What Are Health Disparities? Why It's Important to Fight for Health Equity—Especially Right Now

Health.com recently interviewed Zul Surani, MPH, director of Community Outreach and Engagement & Operations at the Cancer Research Center for Health Equity at Cedars-Sinai, about health disparities in the United States, including those related to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

As Health.com reported, the novel coronavirus pandemic has shown that health disparities – preventable, poor health outcomes experienced by socially disadvantaged populations – continue to be a problem in the U.S. For example, Black people are often bearing the brunt of severe outcomes from COVID-19.

A recent analysis conducted by the non-partisan research group APM Research Lab, found that Black people are dying from the virus at 2.4 times the rate of their white counterparts, according to Health.com.

Surani explained that negative consequences of health disparities are wide-reaching.

“In the cancer field, for example, delayed diagnosis of cancers that could be treatable is an issue of health disparity,” Surani told Health.com. “If cancer is diagnosed early and people have access to the right medications, that can lead to a better quality of life for people.”

He suggested that people can combat disparities, like those related to cancer, by finding the right healthcare provider—someone who understands your personal needs and risk factors.

“If you’re LGBTQI, for example, ask for an LGBTQI provider who you feel that you can be honest and authentic with,” Surani told Health.com.

And while it may be daunting to tackle a big issue like health disparities, Surani said everyone can help fix the problem.

“Being aware that health disparities exist, and demanding equality is important,” Surani said.

Click here to read the complete story from Health.com.