Google's chief health officer: 3 challenges to overcoming health inequity

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Health disparities among the country's people of color and low-income families remains a critical issue threatening public health, according to a report published Oct. 28 in the American Journal of Public Health.

The report was written by Karen DeSalvo, Google's chief health officer, along with Kushal Kadakia, an MD candidate at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Here are three challenges they said the healthcare industry must overcome to achieve public health equity:

  1. Health equity initiatives are likely to fail unless they are "rooted in the ideals of justice and grounded in local relationships and social networks in the communities that public health is intended to serve."

  2. Health equity programs will not be effective without sufficient funding, so lawmakers should consider the public health infrastructure fund legislation currently before the Senate.

  3. Data modernization must be a priority, as many health departments still operate in data silos and rely on outdated technology such as fax machines.

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