A recent NPR story highlights how people’s perceptions of what affects their health differ according to socioeconomic status. I read the article but then I rushed to the comments. Some comments come from the “pull yourself up by the boot straps” philosophy while other comments call for increased federal aid.
The comments are all over the map politically and I realize I see my own conflicted attitudes reflected there. I have seen inspiring success stories of students overcoming adversity but I also see the soul crushing effects of poor housing and unsafe neighborhoods. I’ve seen struggling families make healthy choices and I’ve seen families give in to the limited choices available to them in a food desert.
The School Nursing community is beginning to address the health disparities we see every day in our practice. We are learning to utilize community mapping and GIS technology to identify health disparities. We seek to upgrade our cultural competency skills and our political advocacy skills to help decrease those disparities.
The NPR site reminds readers to “Please keep your community civil.” The persistence of health disparities in this land of plenty is a call to action but at the same time, we need to engage families and health care providers in discussion of the root causes of these disparities. As long as we “keep our community civil”, we don’t have to fear the comments section.