What is Health Equity, and Why is It so Important?

graphic depicting health equity amongst the pediatric population
Equality versus equity in a pediatric population

“Health Equity” is a hot topic across health care, and it has become a renewed focus for Nationwide Children’s Hospital as it works to improve outcomes for all children. But what, exactly, do experts and policy makers mean when they talk about health equity?

Nationwide Children’s Chief Diversity and Health Equity Officer, Olivia Thomas, MD, tackles the question in an entry for families on the 700 Children’s blog. She writes, in part:

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional

“(Consider) health care access. You need a doctor or other provider close enough for easy travel, which is not assured in rural areas. You need some form of transportation. You need health insurance or another way to pay. Adults need time off work. Patients who speak English as a second language may need interpreters to assist at medical visits. Medical documents need to be translated into multiple languages. Some people don’t have any of those barriers. Some have all of them and more, so they do not have the “fair and just” opportunities for health care access that others have.”

Olivia Thomas, MD, Chief Diversity and Health Equity Officer at Nationwide Children's Hospital