The ethical urgency of tackling racial inequities in health

Elsevier, EClinicalMedicine, Volume 34, April 2021
Bastos J.L., Constante H.M., Jamieson L.M.

In a foundational paper [1] from almost 30 years ago, Margaret Whitehead established crucially important distinctions between health differences and health inequities. Through an ethical perspective, she contended that health differences between nations or groups within countries should be taken as health inequities whenever unnecessary, avoidable, and unjust factors were at their core. We see that health differences between racialized categories perfectly fit the definition of health inequity, though mainstream public health research has been reluctant to acknowledge this. Racial health inequities go hand in hand with our inability to address the unnecessary, avoidable, and unjust social process known as racism.