Why Improve Health Equity? 


Health equity means that everyone – despite race, gender or economic status – gets the same quality health care from their health care providers. It means we all have the same chance at living long, healthy, thriving lives. But Memphis isn’t there yet.

Achieving health equity as a community will not be easy, but we can get there if we take it step by step. One of the first steps is for everyone to recognize that disparities exist. 

Health disparities are the disproportionate burden of disease, disability and death among a particular population or group when compared to the proportion of the population. Improving health equity can lead to:


  • Better Health Care
  • Less Disparities
  • Better Health Care Reporting

Disparities aren’t fair and often happen to patients through no fault of their own. One of the ways we hope to identify these disparities is through the standard collection of race, ethnicity and language (REL) data. Several hospitals in Memphis have now incorporated this standard practice into their hospital systems and are using their findings to improve their quality of care. 

2011 Health Equity Report

health_equity_m.pngReleased in May 2011, this report evaluates differences in the type of care received by patients of different races, ethniciites and langauges in Memphis and recommends actions we can take to address the disparities in care.

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Why Care?

A 2010 study conducted by Methodist North Hospital revealed that:

  • African American patients hospitalized for heart failure were 15 years younger than white patients.
  • African American patients hospitalized for heart attack were 9 years younger than white patients. 
  • African American patients were more likely than white patients to experience death at a younger age.