Event aimed at tackling health disparities in Southwest Michigan
BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich – On Wednesday evening many people in the Berrien County area gathered at Andrews University to hear about health disparities in Berrien County and nationwide.
The health disparities shown through data and a presentation by Dr. Bechara Choucair of Kaiser Permanente shows that there are disparities with the healthcare offerings and outcomes across racial groups and income levels.
“So one of the things that we noted in research for our community health needs assessment is that there’s significant health disparities in the county specifically there are large disparities in life expectancy and large disparities in death rates we learn for instance there’s a 19 year life expectancy gap among census tracks in Berrien County and we also learned that among census tracks there’s a three and a half fold gap between the track with the highest and lowest death rates,” Executive Director for population health at Spectrum Lakeland Health Lynn Todman said.
Issues that are said to impact the health of many are lack of affordable housing, areas with an inadequate educational system and the lack of a clean environment.
Berrien County residents who came out to the forum like Cortez Mone said he was glad that the issues were addressed but more importantly solution were being offered.
“It was awesome that they are bringing to the light some of the issues that we are seeing in our community specifically the 49022 community of racism and socio-economic challenges and how they’re impacting health and the issues and concerns that we are having but more importantly seeing a way forward to be able to have communities come up with solutions and partners in the communities such as Spectrum Lakeland Health looking to provide answers to those questions,” Mone said.