Celebrating Juneteenth: Equity in Healthcare

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. At its core, this day celebrates the journey and culture of the Black community in the U.S. and provides space for all Americans to reflect on a shameful period in our history that continues to shape all areas of society today. Learn more about the significance of this holiday here.

While we cheer Juneteenth’s celebration of freedom, we also recognize that there is much work to do in combatting racial injustice in the United States. As an agency focused solely on healthcare and improving people’s lives, SPM has a duty to pay attention to the unique experiences of Black Americans and take action to confront the health inequities they face as we approach every aspect of our work.

The American Healthcare System is beset with inequities that primarily impact under-resourced communities, including African Americans; barriers such as limited access, lack of insurance, poverty, and the stress and manifestations of systemic racism often lead to worse health outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown these issues into stark relief.

For instance, cases of preventative or diagnostic screenings are much lower in under-resourced groups, yet cancer rates are higher. The infant mortality rate for Black Americans in 2.5 times greater than white Americans, and the maternal mortality is much higher for Black mothers than white mothers (source). Beyond statistics, Black Americans have shared their own stories of symptoms not being taken seriously and other forms of discrimination from medical professionals; doctors have also described experiencing racism from patients.

With this in mind, it is the entire healthcare field’s responsibility to confront these issues head on so that everyone can receive equitable treatment and the best care possible. This is an undertaking that must extend beyond any one day and organization. SPM Group is committed to actively participating in these efforts both internally and externally, as true racial justice and liberation cannot exist while these barriers to health and wellness stand.

But today we commemorate and celebrate together—because we know that together is how we’ll make a difference.