Place Matters

On the Health Equity Quiz, I scored an 8/10. I wasn’t really surprised by any of the statistics, because I grew up in environments where those facts were more than evident. Minorities, people with low income, and health problems all intertwine no matter how hard we try to escape it. And in my opinion, it isn’t the fault of the individuals all the time, though they do contribute to it, it is the fault of the government and policy makers because they see what is happening, but since they do not experience it first hand, they don’t understand the gravity of the situations. They prefer dollar bills to human diversity or human improvement.

The case study I chose outlined the idea of how “place matters.” Where you are, geographically, makes an impact on your health and life longevity. Using Richmond, California as an example, the case studies how areas that aren’t as ‘fruitful’ as others tend to house individuals that attain health problems. Disadvantageous neighborhoods contribute to a lot of these health problems. Stress becomes the main health problem in the case study when the Lao refugee, Gwan, is used as an example. After suffering a heart attack that had no previous traces in his family, Gwan became a victim to health problems that could only be a cause of his environmental placement and economic status. High point, a community which acted together in order to receive a grant to help modify their neighborhood and merge it with the rest of the income families, became an example of how to change an environment where sicknesses like Asthma amongst young kids was prevalent. However, though the building of new homes and the introduction of job opportunities brought a lot of good into the society, the people who had temporarily moved out to wait the renovations never came back because it was harder to afford the new areas. It costs more to move into a neighborhood that has been renovated because companies and corporations don’t want to invest in areas with high poverty levels or rent to people in lower income positions. All in all, the cases main point was the concept that in order to think about what happens to individuals within their community is based on a wider range of factors. Improving quality of life isn’t as simple as it sounds; you need policy change and people willing to spend money to improve life instead of improving business.

Of course! There is no doubt that there exist non-genetic factors that can serve as explanations to these health disparities. The fact of the matter is that so much goes on in our daily social lives that genetics can no longer be the sole blame for certain diseases, sicknesses, and illnesses. Think about obesity for a second. I have grown up with people who have believed that obesity and being ‘skinny’ are only genetic circumstances. However, that isn’t always the case. Though genetics does play an important role in weight distribution amongst families, geographical location, economic status, and social engagement of the individual, also play that much of an important role. Geographical location is the most predominant factor, in my opinion, for certain health disparities. This can be seen through the video I chose as well. Where you are in the world relates what foods, health services, and pathogens/bacteria’s you may or may not be exposed to. Take, for example, the Lecture 1 video where they discussed Malaria prevalence in Africa. Because these people reside in Africa, where resources are limited and the climate conditions contribute to higher frequencies in certain bacterial growths, it isn’t odd to find an individual who is in a state malnutrition and/or carries some kind of ailment.

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