The ultimate objective of the United States’ healthcare system is to ensure that all people lead high-quality lives. The government uses evidence-based programs and initiatives to support this aim. Unfortunately, different populations or families continue to grapple with various medical challenges. This means that some people are healthy in this country while others are not. The paper presented below focuses on the challenges poor African American in rural areas face. It goes further to address the risks they encounter and analyze the leading determinants of health.
The selected population for this discussion is that of poor African Americans living in rural areas across the country. These citizens encounter numerous challenges that make it impossible for them to achieve their goals in life. For instance, they lack adequate resources and opportunities, such as high-quality health services, better education, and job opportunities (Edelman, Kudzma, & Mandle, 2014). They are also unable to provide adequate support to their children. This predicament makes it impossible for young individuals to pursue their goals.
This is a population at risk since it records numerous economic and health challenges. For example, most of these individuals have increased chances of becoming homeless. They are also exposed to different challenges and medical conditions, including poverty, accidents, drug abuse, domestic violence, insecurity, and inadequate health services (Rural Health Information Hub, 2018). The level of crime in communities occupied by poor African Americans has continued to rise. Most of the affected children tend to have higher chances of becoming juvenile delinquents.
Poor African Americans have been observed to grapple with various conditions that make it impossible for them to record positive health outcomes. For instance, they are affected the most by these conditions: cancer, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria, heart disease, stroke, and malnourishment (Dickman, Himmelstein, & Woolhandler, 2017). Other challenges that members of this population encounter include smoking, diabetes, disabilities, and cardiovascular diseases. Although different state governments and agencies have been implementing different programs to meet the health demands of this population, there is a need for superior strategies to empower more African Americans and make it easier for them to achieve their health goals.
Risks and Determinants of Health
There are various factors that influence the health outcomes or statuses of different populations. Such attributes can be social, economic, environmental, or global in nature. The nature of these factors will either result in positive health outcomes or expose individuals to various diseases. The first determinant dictating the risk levels for poor African American is that of social factors. The leading indicators under this category include discrimination, exposure to violence, lack of adequate social support, poor educational opportunities, and concentrated poverty (“Determinants of health,” n.d.). Such social factors have reduced the level of upward mobility for members of this population.
The second category of determinants revolves around the issue of economic performance. Many African Americans have not been able to get job opportunities and quality education. This gap has forced them to explore new ways in order to make money. Additionally, challenges of underrepresentation and unemployment have made it hard for them to record positive economic outcomes. This issue has exposed them to numerous health problems and challenges. Without enough or adequate income, poor African Americans cannot afford timely and high-quality medical care.
Another key determinant of health for this population is the availability of health services. Majority of these individuals lack medical insurance cover. The government has also failed to implement effective laws to meet their health demands. The increasing costs of health services make them unavailable to these citizens (“Determinants of health,” n.d.). Since members of this population lack adequate knowledge or disease prevention competencies, they have been unable to prevent certain illnesses, including malaria and HIV/AIDS. These issues explain why this population continues to record poor health results.
Environmental factors continue to dictate the health outcomes of many African Americans in poor communities. Dickman et al. (2017) indicate that most of these people live in polluted areas. This means that they are exposed to these dangerous conditions: asthma and cancer. Natural occurrences such as typhoons and severe downpours disorient existing healthcare delivery systems.
Global factors are known impact the experiences of members of this population. This is the case since emerging policies and agreements are focusing on the needs of many individuals across the world. For example, the millennium development goals (MDGs) are currently aimed at reducing global poverty levels. The government should present appropriate laws and policies to meet the economic and health demands of this underserved population (Edelman et al., 2014). Superior laws aimed at empowering minority groups in the United States will also deliver positive results.
The above discussion has revealed that every population has its unique determinants of health. Such factors can guide policymakers to identify the major risks many citizens face and formulate appropriate programs to meet their needs. There is a also a need for the government to consider the challenges all African Americans living in poor conditions face and propose superior initiatives to empower and make it easier for them to lead high-quality lives.
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Dickman, S. L., Himmelstein, D. U., & Woolhandler, S. (2017). Inequality and the health-care system in the USA. Lancet, 389, 1431-1441.
Edelman, C. L., Kudzma, E. C., & Mandle, C. L. (2014). Health promotion throughout the life span (8th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
Rural Health Information Hub. (2018). Health promotion and disease prevention theories and models. Web.