Health Inequality

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Over the past few years, renewed concern for health inequalities and the health of the poor has begun to produce important feelings and research. None more important than those raised by Dr. Adewale Troutman of Louisville, KY and his research conducted in the various community areas of his city. Dr. Troutman is the Director of Public Health and Wellness in Louisville. In this paper we will review some of the basic thought provoking ideas presented in Dr. Troutman’s research (Troutman, 2008) and the concepts of Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making us Sick? (California Newsreel, 2008) There are three ideas to discuss. Health Inequalities or disparities which are empirically evident differences that exist across different social groups in a society. Among all inequalities there exist subsets of disparities that are avoidable and therefore unfair or inequitable. Health inequities are a subset of health inequalities or disparities involving circumstances that may be controlled by a policy, system, or institution so that the disparity is avoidable. These kinds of health disparities may include health and healthcare disparities. A society must use moral and ethical judgment to determine which inequalities are inequitable. And finally, Social Justice which is the fair distribution of society’s benefits, responsibilities and their consequences. It focuses on the relative position of one social group in relationship to others in society as well as on the root causes of disparities and what can be done to eliminate them. Let’s consider some facts about health and societal environments and the United States as noted in Dr. Troutman’s findings. According to Troutman (2008), “U.S. businesses lose more than $1 trillion dollars a year in productivity due to chronic illness. Per person, the United States spends more than twice the average of other industrialized countries on health care – 16% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2006, yet we have the worst health...
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