Zip code and race are two of the strongest predictors of life expectancy for Americans, and African Americans fare the worst in terms of mortality and health among all racial and ethnic groups. A large body of research has documented the significance of social factors on health status. These “social determinants of health” are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, age and die: housing, neighborhood safety, schools, wage and workplace conditions, transportation, access to healthy food and water as well as proximity to environmental hazards. Social determinants are shaped by unequal distribution of money, power, and other resources.
Social determinants are compounded by a health care system where providers are less likely to treat people of color with chronic illnesses. Several studies document discrimination against Black patients, including children, in need of pain management.
Women of color report challenges to the legitimacy of their illnesses. Communities of color often lack access or adequate choices in primary care, specialty, dental and mental health providers.
- African Americans and LatinXs in Connecticut are much more likely experience diabetes, asthma, stroke than are whites.
- In Connecticut, people of color are much more likely to have complications after inpatient care and more likely to be readmitted to the hospital after discharge.
- There are substantial racial/ethnic disparities within Connecticut’s inpatient mental health and substance abuse services.