A woman’s income and wealth are directly tied to her health. Consequently, wealthy women have better health outcomes than women with little or no assets. As part of our mission to advance health equity by addressing inequities across the social determinants of health, Allies for Reaching Community Health Equity (ARCHE), a project of the Center for Global Policy Solutions (CGPS) hosted the Women’s Wealth & Health Equity Summit from July 17-19, 2017.
The event used an intersectional framework to examine the consequences of these inequities, placing a particular focus on women of color and other disadvantaged groups. The summit sought to build a shared language, framework and policy agenda to address women’s pay and wealth inequities through a health equity lens.
For the first half of the Summit, we held a Health Equity Design (HED) Lab Strategy Session that brought about four dozen thought leaders and community stakeholders together to develop a series of recommendations to address women’s pay and wealth inequities through a health equity lens. The idea for the Summit was conceived during a previous HED Lab. The ideas discussed during these meetings were also presented and workshopped as part of the formal Summit on Wednesday. In between work sessions, over 150 attendees heard from two panels, “Women’s Pay, Wealth, and Health: Where We Stand Today” and “New Approaches to Community and Stakeholder Engagement,” both of which featured dynamic speakers, including Linda Goler Blount of the Black Women’s Health Imperative who stated, “It’s hard to be your healthiest if you have no money.” Click here to see the presentations from the Health Equity Design Lab Strategy Session teams.
On July 17, Maya Rockeymoore, Ph.D., president and CEO of CGPS formally opened the Summit. The day also featured the panel discussion “Health Equity: Understanding the Social Determinants.”
Baltimore Public Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen delivered a powerful keynote address on the evening of July 18. She used her experiences as a medical doctor and first time mom-to-be to emphasize the importance of equity and a safety net for the most vulnerable. Too often, she said, the undeniable social determinants are ignored in favor of simply blaming those who are poor and unhealthy for their own conditions. But Wen said personal choices can’t explain why blacks don’t live as long as whites and why infants of color are more likely not to see their first birthdays. Sickness is not about personal choices, she said.
Acknowledging that health care is a political hot potato, Wen said doctors and others in the health care field can’t sit by idly while the fates of their patients hang in the balance. She implored equity warriors to stand on the side of what’s right and serve as advocates for those most vulnerable.
Dr. Julianne Malveaux, a noted labor economist, author and commentator delivered a witty and spirited keynote address on the Summit’s last day, explaining racial health disparities can be attributed to three factors: Access, Assets and Attitudes.
Access, she said, is an issue because the few health care facilities that are located in low-income communities are inadequate. Assets are relevant because those with means can afford the best care, while the have-nots have no or few options. Attitudes are important, Dr. Malveaux said, because historically the medical establishment has been hostile to African Americans and other communities of color, creating an indifference between the two groups that keeps blacks from seeking medical treatment.
Panelists who took part over the three days included Lori Dorfman of Berkeley Media Studies Group, Fatima Goss Graves of the National Women’s Law Center, Marjorie Innocent of the NAACP, Sylvia Castillo of The Praxis Project, Paolo Narciso of the AARP Foundation and Teófilo Reyes of Restaurant Opportunities Center United.
ARCHE Director Dr. Judy Lubin closed the Summit by thanking attendees and participants, summarizing a few of the many highlights and promising more innovative events, trainings and leadership from ARCHE.
View Summit Videos
- Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, Opening Remarks, First Day
- Women’s Pay, Wealth, and Health: Where We Stand Today Panel
- New Approaches to Community & Stakeholder Engagement Panel
- Health Equity: Understanding the Social Determinants Panel
- Dr. Leana Wen, Keynote
- Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, Opening Remarks, Final Day
- Building Stability for Women Who Work Panel
- Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Keynote
- Equity: The Business Imperative Panel
- Thinking Intersectionally and Across Silos Panel
- Click here to view the meeting agenda and speaker list.
- Click here to see the presentations from the Health Equity Design Lab Strategy Session teams.
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