I first became engrossed in the battle against health disparities while taking an introduction to Health Disparities course at Rutgers University, my alma mater. I remember feeling enraged and misinformed. I was aware that the social determinants of health affect a person’s health, functioning, and quality of life outcomes – however, the extent of the disparities that were highlighted in the literature still baffled me. I wanted to know why health disparities were so widespread in minority communities across the nation, and I wanted to figure out a way that I could contribute to help bridge this gap.
I immersed myself in the literature to learn as much as possible about the drivers of such disparities, such as the cost and access to healthcare, difference in preventative health services, food deserts, and implicit bias in providers just to name a few. I was confused as to why there was not an ongoing dialogue about health disparities happening outside of the health professions. I realized that most people were not failing to acknowledge these glaring health disparities due to negligence; instead, they were unaware. It is for this reason that I started Why The Gap. I wanted to bring awareness to the health disparities that are so prevalent in this country, and I wanted to do so in a manner that targeted laypeople and the general public. I hope that my team and I are successful in this mission, and in turn, it leads to a more equitable future.
LEAD CONTENT CREATOR
It is difficult to describe a phenomenon that you are unsuspecting of. In my own experience, this was the realization of numerous layers of heal disparities within the Asian-American community during my undergraduate studies. Exposure to research citing the higher risk of chronic diseases validated my own anecdotal experience of my community. However, the aggregation of millions of persons with unique cultures and histories to a single classification further disparage specific communities. In some cases, this broad classification shrouds the experiences of underrepresented communities, denying them the support needed to lead healthier lives
Being Yonsei, a fourth-generation Japanese-American, whose own disparities vastly differ on the scale of privilege from other Asian- ethnicities and subgroups, there is a need to advocated for a healthier future for underrepresented Asian-Americans. I hope the Why The Gap serves as an essential resource to address the gaps within our growing communities and helps us reach health equity and justice.
I first became aware of the discrepancies in health care while working as an EMT. Seeing the world through the perspective of my patients had is high points, but the low points were often daunting. While I was aware the were some disparities, seeing it first-hand lit a fire inside me to strive to help people in similar positions. Utilizing my skills to decipher research that may benefit people is a passion of mine, and I intend to shed light on these issues and do my part to close the gap.
I believe understanding information in the medical field should not be a luxury, but something easy to access for all that seek it. Preventative measure, nutritional facts, vaccines, and much more should be information that is understood by the masses and specifically those who it negatively affects at a higher rate. As a Hispanic and African American, I feel it is necessary to help our fight for a healthier future and I am hopeful Why The Gap can help serve that purpose.