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Health Equity Summit set for October 19

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Event to address gaps in access to health care

Health Equity Summit set for October 19

The health care ecosystem faces major challenges — how to enhance health outcomes through more equitable access to care, while addressing rising costs.

Panelists discuss health equity solutions at last year’s meeting.

Part of the answer is improving health equity, a task that will require collaboration across the value chain. The second annual Health Equity Summit – presented by Chain Drug Review and Kearney, on October 19 in Chicago – will tackle that issue.

Who is affected by health inequity?

In the United States, disparity in health care access and outcomes affects a large number of marginalized populations. And the impact is staggering. People in the least affluent ZIP codes can expect to live about 20 years less than their neighbors in the most affluent ZIP codes. Annual health care spending on white adult Americans is about 56% higher than for Black and Hispanic Americans. Black infants are two times more likely to die than white infants.

Health inequity is heartbreaking, and it’s also expensive. It affects everyone, even those who don’t live in marginalized communities. The U.S loses $42 billion in untapped productivity each year due to health inequities.

Gaps in health — created by barriers at all levels within society — are large, persistent and growing. They include:

• Discriminatory practices.

• Structural racism.

• Unstable housing.

• Gaps in wealth and income.

• Lack of access to care and services in poor and rural communities.

• Lack of early childhood intervention.

• Underlying lack of trust in the health care system because of a history of discrimination.

What’s the solution?

These challenges are so broad that they can’t be solved in a vacuum. Individual sectors and individual companies can’t take on these problems alone. Even the pharmacy industry can only do so much — we need all of the players across the value chain to come together to address these massive challenges.

At October’s Health Equity Summit, we hope to do just that. We’re creating the space for companies across the health care ecosystem, government and community representatives to share best practices, brainstorm new ideas and create connections.

We’ll explore such questions as:

• What role can each of us play in improving health equity?

• How can pharmacists serve as frontline points of contact for connecting people resources in the broader health care ecosystem?

• How can health care organizations use their physical presence in communities to address social barriers to health, such as affordable housing and job training?

The business impact of addressing health inequity

Improving health outcomes isn’t just good for communities; it’s good for business. At the Health Equity Summit, we’ll identify key opportunities to use business levers to drive health outcomes.

When health equity is seen as just a charitable cause, we lose the opportunity to make a far-reaching impact. By shifting that mindset to see health equity as fundamental to the way business operates, we enable new solutions, innovative delivery models, and an opportunity to drive better business and health outcomes.

Improving health equity is a long game, not a quick win. Making progress will require open conversation and collaboration. We’re looking forward to being a part of that conversation in October.

If you’re interested in learning more, go to

Dominique Harris is a partner in the Leadership, Change and Organization practice at Kearney. She can be reached at [email protected]. Karen Yocky is a manager in the health practice at Kearney. She can be reached at [email protected]. Jeffrey Woldt is Editor-in-Chief of Chain Drug Review.


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