How would you go about improving access to healthcare in this country, especially to underserved communities?
American healthcare is at a crossroads. This system is underrepresents serving certain communities. There are two concerns facing an underserved community: First, one of the largest concerns is the prevalence of the disease in minority populations. There is a large link to coronary artery disease, diabetes, obesity, and other life-threatening conditions that impact the minority population more frequently than the Caucasian population.
One has to consider how to combat this issue and its cause. A minority, or underserved community, is far more likely to have different experiences that can contribute to increased disease. One of the biggest risk factors is exposure to toxins and hazardous materials. Lead poisoning, environmental hazards, and other risk factors exist more in communities of minority populations. This can be seen by looking at processing or other manufacturing plants. It can even be seen in food choices that are presented to these communities, as they are more likely to be processed, or exposed to the toxic material. If American healthcare is to improve, we need to decrease the minority risk for disease by decreasing exposure to potentially harmful substances.
A few ideas to consider that could also impact patient care in underserved communities may be obtaining correct data and bypassing the physician. The first way to combat this is to collect data and track concerns that reflect the current population. If the data was accurate and showed concern, it would be easier to create change within the healthcare system and healthcare workers would be amenable to these changes. If we looked at putting more Physician Assistants or Nurse Practitioners in these communities, it could be easier to have adequate healthcare more accessible. This could make healthcare cheaper and more widespread globally.
Des Moines University College of Podiatric Medicine, Class of 2023