SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – In general, Utah Is known for being a healthy state. However, for some, access to healthcare doesn’t come easy.
A new report by the Utah Department of Health is providing a snapshot into the ethnic health disparities right here in our state. Their findings and how those in minority communities can get the care they need.
In 2021 Utah Health Status by race and ethnicity report the Utah Department of Health finds a disproportionate number of Utahns in minority communities who aren’t getting the healthcare they need. They say the disparities may be linked to finances, environmental, or geological disadvantages.
Brittney Okada with the Utah Department of Health says, “likely there are those factors at play, but we should make assumptions about that.”
UDOH says while covid has heightened the need for preventative healthcare, the report reveals the health inequities for ethnic groups have been an issue since well before the pandemic. As a matter of the fact, the report which typically is released every five years began in 2005 looking at more than a dozen factors related to illness as well as more than 70 measures of public healthcare. Researchers found racial and ethnic health disparities exist in 71% of health and public wellbeing.
The most notable factor in the study was the percentage of Utahns in ethnic groups without health insurance.
According to UDOH’s findings, of the 9.4 % of Utahns lacking health coverage, 35% of Hispanics reported not having health insurance, 25% of African Americans don’t have health insurance, while 21% of American Indian/Alaska Natives are without health coverage.
“A lot of times that makes decisions hard for individuals, populations, communities about whether or not to access healthcare,” Okada says, regarding a lack of access to healthcare.
Okada is working with more than 30 organizations through a partnership program that will enable underserved communities of health access to reach their highest health potential.
“And we’re working together to address all sorts of health disparities in Utah” adds Okada.
Ultimately the Utah Department of Health says as more partnerships and communities work together, understanding how ethnic and minority groups experience healthcare can help provide solutions to combatting these disparities.