Systemic discrimination exists throughout society, having a particularly acute effect on healthcare.
The Pandemic Shined a Light on Health Disparities
COVID-19 continues highlighting the world’s health divide across communities and populations through unequal access to testing, care, treatment, and more — including the dissemination of information.
Research and Education are Key to Lasting Impact
When it comes to addressing these disparities head-on, education is key. To ensure equity for all people, it’s helpful to first understand the systems that cause inequality. Knowledge is power, but only if the information shared is accessible, relevant, and representative.
At Verywell, we started with a pledge to Anti-Racism: a promise to our visitors that they will see themselves reflected and represented in the voices and stories shared in our content. The pledge revolves around holding ourselves accountable to identifying and addressing intentional and unintentional barriers that arise from bias or systemic structures, including health-specific barriers, like the cost of care; lack of culturally competent care; little trust in the medical system; racism; proximity to medical providers; and more. That user-first mentality aims to continue remedying society’s indisputable pervasive health divides.
The narrowing of that divide starts with amplifying the voices of those traditionally unheard and ignored. Recently, Verywell launched a series, Health Divide, to highlight inequities across a variety of conditions. Anchored in real patient stories, expert perspectives, and a doctor-curated comprehensive educational overview — discussing prevention, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment — this series offers a dynamic content destination backed by statistics that spotlights the concerns, experiences, and perspectives of specific marginalized communities.
For the inaugural Health Divide, “Breast Cancer and Black Women,” Verywell collaborated with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the largest private funder of breast cancer research in the world, to bolster the initiative with in-depth research. The results are clear: health inequalities not only exist, but they are also lethal.
Verywell’s partnerships with respected and revered foundations are just one example of how we aim to instill confidence in consumers. We believe in the power and importance of expert-written and-reviewed content that is told through an inclusive lens. At Verywell, we also partner with our Anti-Bias Review Board — a group of physicians, DEI experts, psychologists, and other credentialed experts — to check and address our own potential biases in the pursuit of genuine health information equality.
A Path Ahead
On the surface, it’s easy to say that COVID-19 has divided families, communities, and the world. But in reality, COVID-19 continues exposing the growing divisions that existed among and between us all along. While we believe healthcare is a human and universal right, quality care and wellness are currently a privilege.
While there’s always more room for improvement, Verywell believes that listening to consumers and providing accurate, representative, and responsive information yields a more equitable future.
Stay in Touch
To learn more about how Verywell is addressing health disparities, email us at [email protected]