Focusing on Health Equity
Heart disease, stroke, and their modifiable risk factors are experienced disproportionately throughout the U.S. population based on race/ethnicity, social determinants of health, and geography. Structural racism, discriminatory economic policies, and other systemic factors have contributed to these disparities by increasing financial stress, creating distrust of the medical system, curtailing access to quality health care, and segregating populations into unsafe and unhealthy neighborhoods. These stressors limit certain populations’ chance to be healthy, for example, by limiting their ability to:
- Pay for medications, home blood pressure devices, or preventive services like cardiac rehabilitation.
- Get help for nicotine dependence.
- Exercise safely.
- Breath smoke- and particle pollution-free air.
Million Hearts® 2027 aims to advance health equity through specific policies, processes, and practices that provide fair access to resources and opportunities that enable cardiovascular health for all, with a deliberate emphasis on several populations:
People with Lower Incomes
In partnership with Million Hearts®, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) funded 6 U.S. organizations from January to July 2023 to implement Million Hearts® strategies among priority populations.
Learn more about the funding recipients’ efforts and lessons learned on NACDD’s Million Hearts® Health Equity Implementation Project webpage.
Tools and Resources
- Social Determinants of Health
This CDC Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) framework recognizes that SDOH contribute to the stark and persistent chronic disease disparities in the United States among racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups and addresses the following five determinants: built environment, community-clinical linkages, food and nutrition security, social connectedness, and tobacco-free policy.
- Race, Ethnicity, Hypertension, and Heart Disease: JACC Focus Seminar
This clinical review describes racial/ethnic disparities in the epidemiology of hypertension, and the impact of SDOH on the quality of cardiovascular care and outcomes.
- Call to Action: Structural Racism as a Fundamental Driver of Health Disparities: A Presidential Advisory from the American Heart Association
This Call to Action from AHA recognizes structural racism as a fundamental cause of poor health and disparities in cardiovascular disease and reviews potential solutions to address structural racism in the United States.
- CDC CORE Health Equity Science and Intervention Strategy
CDC is committed to incorporating health equity and addressing health disparities in all efforts with the CORE Health Equity Science and Intervention Strategy