“Gender differences in health and the use of health services are a long-standing concern for the U.S. medical system,” the Journal of Women’s Health declares. In a recent study, they found that women were less likely to have hospital stays and had fewer physician visits than men with similar demographic and health profiles.
An abundance of studies like those in the Journal of Women’s Health show that gender affects several social determinants of health. This includes factors like access to education, employment, income, social status, vulnerability to abuse, a difference in health-seeking behavior, access to health services, and societal expectations.
For instance, the Center for American Progress reports that women are less likely than men to receive health care coverage through their employer and are more likely to have higher out-of-pocket medical costs, resulting in a health insurance compensation gap on top of an already significant pay gap.
When social determinants of health are intertwined with racism, discrimination, and structural bias, the unfair and avoidable differences in health status become even more severe.
WE NEED TO TALK
Mavens across Central Indiana will come together at an upcoming Women Equity Brunch Indy event to broach the topic of health equity for women, with subject matter experts who can specifically speak to issues that affect women of color and LGBTQ+ community members.
The brunch event will be hosted at Tinker House Events on Sunday, June 26, 2022 beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Pursuing equity for women cannot be done without bringing women together from all diverse backgrounds, perspectives, industries, and walks of life. “Whether you are a community leader, corporate business woman, entrepreneur, stay at home mom, or anything in between, this discussion is relevant to Mavens from all backgrounds,” WE Brunch co-founder Doneisha Posey shared.
Women Equity Brunch Indy will release tickets for this event on June 14, 2022 at 7 a.m. The team’s last brunch event sold out in three days, so if you’re interested in attending, be sure to mark your calendar for the ticket release date!
MEET THE SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS
Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, Alia Blackburn is an anchor and reporter for FOX59/CBS4. She joined the team in April 2021 after working in Terre Haute, Indiana for seven years at the CBS affiliate station there. Alia is a 2013 graduate of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and a proud product of Wayne Township Schools, where she graduated from Ben Davis High School in 2009.
When asked why health equity for women was important to her, Blackburn shared, “As a woman, we are true superheroes with the ability to do so many things, both physically and mentally. In order to keep reaching our goals and balancing the demands of our work/home lives, we have to be healthy in our minds and bodies, and those resources should be accessible to all of us without discrimination.”
Breanca Merritt is Chief Health Equity and ADA Officer for Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration. In this role, she oversees FSSA’s Office of Healthy Opportunities by addressing social determinants of health for low-income and vulnerable Hoosiers and designing and implementing socially equitable policy design. Prior to joining FSSA, she was the Founding Director of the Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy (CRISP) at the Indiana University Public Policy Institute.
Dr. Merritt is an adjunct professor and community scholar in IUPUI’s Africana Studies program and the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs’ Executive Education program. She is extremely engaged in the community and is a recipient of the Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty under 40 award, a board member of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, Hawthorne Community Center, and is a member of Indianapolis’ Continuum of Care Blueprint Council.
Dr. Hannah Locke works as a medical doctor specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Community Health Network. Previously working with Eskenazi Health’s Transgender Health and Wellness Center and the Coleman Center for Women at IU Health, Dr. Locke gained an abundance of experience working with LGBTQ+ patients, especially with members of the transgender community, and speaks on topics including gender affirming surgery.
“For me personally, I am a queer person,” Locke said. “I’m married to a woman, and it has been so incredibly valuable for me to have a job where I am giving back to my personal community. It’s been super meaningful for patients to have a physician who is not just OK with taking care of LGBTQ people, but who is actually a member of their community and who is open about that and who is excited to take care of the LGBTQ population.”
Experiencing the realities of abandonment by her biological mother, being bi-racial, and growing up in a Black home, Katara McCarty realized early in life that her skin color mattered. After becoming a single mother at 19 and finding the courage to leave an abusive relationship, McCarty became an entrepreneur holding leadership positions in both non- and for-profit organizations.
Today, McCarty is a sought-after coach, author, and podcast host, as well as the Founder/CEO of Katecha Corp, a technology startup dedicated to expanding access to health and wellness for communities of color. As a Black woman, she is committed to amplifying the richness of Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color (BIWOC) and their stories while advocating for and providing emotional well-being resources for BIWOC through her app EXHALE.
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