'One Size Does Not Fit All' - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

caduceusAt two forums on healthcare reform at the NAACP’s Centennial Convention Saturday, panelists presented a slew of statistics that rank African Americans with the highest prevalence, incidence, and mortality rates for diabetes, AIDS, cancer, and other diseases.

“[People] like you and me are falling through the cracks,” said Roslyn M. Brock, vice chairman of the national board of directors at the NAACP.

“Social and economic determinants shape health equity,” said panelist Shonta Chambers, a representative of the American Heart Association, who says access to care and treatment disparities are inclusive of a person’s environment and other social determinants. “We would be remiss to talk about health disparities and not talk about communities.”

Chambers believes that African Americans must diversify the discussion surrounding healthcare by including policy and research on land use, agriculture, infrastructure, transportation, and economic development and how these topics affect health disparities.

“Racial and ethnic minorities get left out all of the time,” says Hilary Shelton, senior vice president for advocacy and the director of the NAACP Washington bureau, in an interview after the session. “Comprehensive healthcare must be inclusive. One size does not fit all.”

Health disparities are not just about patient care, he says, suggesting that some of the solutions might involve reducing, for example, high incarceration and high unemployment.

As Congress gets ready to vote on a new healthcare reform bill, Shelton recommends that more focus be added on prevention.

“There must be a system in place that is totally inclusive and that educates people about how to control their environments and seek healthcare before they get sick,” Shelton says.

He says that the NAACP supports the Congressional Tri-Caucus, a consortium of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The group is working on the Healthcare Equality and Accountability Act, which will make sure that racial and ethnic minorities are represented in every phase of healthcare, including policy, research, insurance coverage, and the employment of medical services.

Marcia A. Wade is the reporter for BlackEnterprise.com.

Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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