A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report shows that Black Americans and other minority groups still face health care disparities in 2023. To combat this, Kim Barbel Johnson, DO, MPH, a Mayo Clinic family medicine physician, discusses ways for patients and health care professionals to close the health equity gap.

“We all are aware that health disparities, health inequities—they have evolved over time,” said Johnson in a YouTube video.

According to the CDC report, non-Hispanic Black people die of heart disease at higher rates than other racial and ethnic groups. In 2021, about 22% of non-Hispanic Black people with heart disease died of the condition. Black people are more likely to die of cancer than other groups, according to a Mayo Clinic News Network article.

About 55% of Black adults have high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. Lack of access to medication and distrust of health care professionals are some of the factors that contribute to these health disparities.

Barbel Johnson said it’s important to empower patients. “And that empowerment comes with education. It comes with access. It comes with timely intervention,” she said, adding that she encourages patients to reduce their risk of developing chronic, potentially deadly conditions by being proactive and reducing alcohol and tobacco use, exercising and adhering to a healthy diet.

Barbel Johnson also emphasized the need for researchers and clinicians to prioritize inclusivity when gathering participants for clinical trials. “We know that the data shows that racial and ethnic minorities haven’t been present in many clinical trials in the clinical trial space,” she added.

To read more, click #Health Equity. There, you’ll find headlines such as “Health Equity for African Americans With Hepatitis C,” “How a Coalition of Black Health Care Leaders Boosts Health Equity” and “How the White House Advances Health Equity for Black Americans.”