“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane” Martin Luther King Jr., 1966.
While five decades have passed since Dr. King highlighted the need to address health disparities, many differences in outcomes have continued to grow. Dana Goldman, director of the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California has studied disparities. In a recent New York Times article he provided his expertise on the issue:
Many researchers believe the gap in life spans from lower- to upper-income Americans started widening about 40 years ago, when income inequality began to grow. The broad adoption of medication for high blood pressure in the 1950s led to a major improvement for black men, erasing a big part of the gap with whites. . . Earlier in the 20th century, trends in life spans were of declining disparities, some experts say, because improvements in public health, such as the invention of the polio vaccine and improved sanitation, benefited rich and poor alike.