Campaigning against health inequity

The patient advocacy battle for improved health equity has lasted for generations. Arguably, the diverse impact of Covid both globally between countries, and within specific communities, has intensified focus on the scale of health inequity. 

Two major patient communities in the US, representing Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease have clear and practical campaigns driven from their websites to fight health inequity.

1: Source and analyse data

Although public health data analytics continue to improve, often there is a role for patient groups to gather, `mine’ and analyse the scale and impact of health inequity on the patient and carer communities affected by a specific disease or condition.

For example the American organisation Us Against Alzheimer’s, set up the US National Alzheimer’s Disease Index™. On their campaign site they describe the Index as a new public health tool to:

“help public health practitioners, researchers, drug developers, communities and policymakers identify, visualize and address Alzheimer’s health disparities.”

Aggregate Medicare data, and enable users to “visualize and analyze Alzheimer’s health statistics by geography and by demographics.” – Us Against Alzheimer’s

2: Raising awareness

Where compelling data is available, groups are becoming expert in raising awareness of health inequity. For example, The US American Diabetes Association leads a campaign under the banner #HealthEquityNow.

A video on the home page for the campaign demonstrates the unequal impact of diabetes on different communities, leading to a clear call to action:

“Health equity is a right, not a privilege. No matter your race, income, zip code, age or gender. It’s time to demand health equity now.” – American Diabetes Association.

3: Make advocacy demands clear

Patient organisations often summarise the actions and changes they demand in the form of charters or missions. The American Diabetes Association created a Bill of Rights, downloadable from the campaign’s home page, covering 10 rights needed to address health inequity in diabetes, including the right to:

  • Access insulin and other drugs affordably
  • Participate in clinical trials without fear
  • Stop prediabetes from becoming diabetes.
4: Make the campaign sustainable

In August last year, Us Against Alzheimer’s set up their Center for Brain Health Equity. They run this in partnership with prominent national Black and Latino health provider associations. The center aims to build on the organisation’s ongoing work to address the disparate impact of Alzheimer’s and related dementias on communities of colour and women. It’s attracted funding of $1.5 for five years from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

NEXT STEPS:

Visit the Us for Alzheimer’s campaign site at…

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Visit the American Diabetes Association’s campaign site at…

Click here

Download the diabetes Bill of Rights at…

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