Striver Shares Why Strive’s Health Equity Pledge Can Help Eliminate Barriers for Patients

Author : Strive Health

Lizy Pierson, Provider Integration Manager at Strive, is a passionate supporter of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) and Strive’s health equity pledge, which leverages data to address disparities.

Discover why Lizy believes health equity initiatives eliminate barriers to patient care and programs and how she hopes Strive’s health equity pledge will change the healthcare system.

1 . Why is DE&I important to you?

DE&I has been important to me since I was a kid. My parents would always tell me, “Life isn’t fair.” This was never a good enough answer for me and I knew early on I wanted to make life “more fair” for everyone.

It wasn’t until my undergraduate program that I learned more about health disparities and marginalized groups and how the systems we have in place can drastically affect health outcomes. DE&I efforts affect each and every one of us and small changes can go a long way. 

2. Did you know about healthcare disparities prior to joining Strive? If so, can you share specifics? 

Before joining Strive I was working on my master’s in public health with a concentration in health policy and administration. Health disparities were a large part of both my undergraduate and post-graduate experiences. I went to Temple University in North Philadelphia where we were a “bubble” within a lower-income community. We spent a lot of time dissecting health disparities of different Philadelphia neighborhoods and how zip codes affect the built environment, median income, access to food and education levels.

For example, the only reason the 19121 zip code had a grocery store was because the university was built there. Even today, Philadelphia remains one of the largest food deserts in the country.

One of my first jobs within the public health space was at a data startup called Broadstreet, where we made it more accessible to view data visualization for some of these important metrics (e.g., infant mortality, adverse childhood experiences, sexually transmitted infections, food access, community indicators, violence prevention). Sometimes I use the Broadstreet tool before doing provider visits at Strive so I have a better understanding of types of adversity the neighborhoods I am visiting may be facing.

3. How do you believe health equity initiatives eliminate barriers to patient care and programs? 

How could they not? Health equity initiatives give people an equitable chance at optimal health. These programs can provide the resources some have been desperately searching for. I think as people working in healthcare we may forget the privilege we have when navigating simple tasks within healthcare systems: finding a doctor, driving to the doctor’s office and even asking a doctor questions. These simple and straightforward tasks can be burdensome and impossible to manage for people who may not be health literate. There are so many barriers within healthcare systems and paying attention to small details could quite literally be the difference between life and death. 

4. What do you hope Strive’s health equity pledge changes in the healthcare system? 

The health equity pledge enables health professionals to be more cognizant about how their health organizations are addressing health disparities. I hope one day we live in a world where everyone is aware of health disparities and how they can affect not only ourselves, but our friends, families, neighbors and communities. In a perfect world everyone would have health equity.  

5. What are key things you learned from taking Strive’s health equity eLearning courses?

I took a few of Strive’s health equity courses because, when it comes to healthy equity, you can never know enough. I expanded my knowledge on LGBTQ+ health, anti-Asian violence, housing disparities and racial disparities related to kidney disease. Although I have a good understanding of health equity challenges for these groups, it’s beneficial to look at it through the kidney disease lens since we’re working in this space every day. 

6. Strive identifies kidney disease patients early on. How does this value-based care principle contribute to addressing health equity?

We know that kidney disease and most chronic conditions disproportionately affect marginalized communities. By focusing on prevention and early identification we can make a huge difference in health outcomes for these groups. It gives them a more equitable chance to live a life with kidney disease whereas without Strive’s programs they may not have access to as many resources that could lead to success. I wanted to work in value-based care because it takes a deeper dive into solving the root issues of the problem rather than slapping a Band-Aid on and calling it a day.

To read more about Strive’s health equity pledge, click here.

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