Employers Must Pave the Way for Health Equity

On the surface, health equity seems like a straightforward goal. In an ideal world where health equity exists, every individual has equitable access to resources and opportunities for optimal health outcomes regardless of their socio-economic status, race, gender, or geographic location. Unfortunately, we’re a long way from that being our reality. Things like socio-economic status and gender and location, also known as social determinants of health (SDOH), deeply affect the wellness of Americans today. 

Luckily, employers are recognizing their influence, and there’s an emerging trend of companies stepping into the critical role of promoting health equity. By delving into the intricacies of SDOH and implementing strategies to mitigate these disparities, employers are not only fostering inclusive work environments but also actively contributing to the broader goal of achieving health equity on a societal scale. 

Understanding the Social Determinants Preventing Universal Health Equity

Health equity seeks to eliminate disparities in health outcomes among different populations. It is a fundamental principle that underscores the importance of ensuring everyone can access the resources and opportunities needed to lead healthy lives. 

Despite decades of efforts to promote health equity, disparities persist among marginalized communities affected by a range of factors, such as access to healthcare, education, employment, housing, and social support networks. SDOH are shaped by broader social, economic, and environmental factors, reflecting systemic barriers deeply entrenched in society. For example, Black women are three times more likely to die in childbirth than white women, LGBTQ+ youth are at least four times more likely than their peers to attempt suicide, and rural Americans face higher rates of chronic diseases like heart disease due to limited access to healthcare and healthy food options. These stark disparities underscore the urgent need to address the root causes of health inequities by tackling SDOH.

Employers as Catalysts for Health Equity

Employers wield substantial influence over the health and well-being of their workforce. Acting as intermediaries between health insurance providers and employees, they hold a unique position to promote health equity. 

According to the most recent Edelman Trust Barometer, Americans now put more trust in their employers than in government and other institutions, writes Zane Burke, CEO of Quantum Health. “This puts business leaders in what I call the ‘first chair’ when it comes to caring for their people. With that position of trust comes a weighty responsibility: to build a diverse and inclusive workforce and create a place where everyone feels understood and valued.”

There are three key strategies experts say employers can implement to address the multifaceted needs of their employees.

1. Prioritize Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Research has consistently shown that diverse teams are more innovative, productive, and better equipped to understand and address the needs of diverse populations. By actively recruiting and retaining employees from diverse backgrounds, employers can foster a culture of inclusivity and empathy, which is essential for designing and implementing effective health initiatives.

2. Simplify Messy Systems 

Enrolling in benefits, caregiving for entire families, and taking care of your own health, especially if the employee is struggling with their wellness, is complicated and overwhelming. A study from Employee Benefits News sponsored by Quantum Health found that 67% of employees have to navigate their healthcare journey without expert help. Employers can step up here by optimizing benefit structures and providing resources for navigating healthcare options can help alleviate barriers to access. This includes offering comprehensive health insurance coverage, mental health services, and wellness programs that address the unique needs of employees. Communication and education efforts are also crucial for ensuring that employees understand and utilize available benefits effectively. HR professionals should make open enrollment materials accessible in various formats and languages to reach all employees. 

3. Destigmatize Health Concerns

Cultivating a workplace culture that encourages open dialogue around health, particularly mental health, helps dismantle barriers to care. By reducing stigma and fostering supportive environments, employers can empower employees to prioritize their well-being. 

Additionally, employers can leverage data and analytics to identify priority populations and tailor interventions accordingly. By collecting and analyzing data on employee demographics, health outcomes, and utilization patterns, employers can gain insights into the specific needs and challenges facing their workforce. This allows them to design targeted programs and build communities around health needs.

Health Equity is a Strategic Imperative for Employers

Working toward health equity isn't just a moral and societal imperative; it's a sound business decision for employers. The disparities in health outcomes affect employee retention, productivity, and overall organizational performance.

Health inequities exacerbate healthcare costs and reduce the utilization rates of essential services among marginalized groups. This not only increases medical care expenses for employers but also leads to lower productivity and absenteeism among affected employees. For instance, mental health issues, which have reached crisis proportions, result in a staggering loss of productivity. It’s estimated the global economy loses $1 trillion annually due to 12 billion working days lost to depression and anxiety.

Moreover, studies have shown that the quality of health coverage provided by employers significantly influences employees' decisions to stay in their current jobs. In fact, 56% of Americans with employer-sponsored health benefits cited the quality of health coverage as a decisive factor in staying at their job.


Ultimately, investing in health equity isn't just about doing what's right—it's about creating a win-win scenario where both employees and employers thrive. By addressing social determinants of health within their spheres of influence, employers not only foster inclusive workplaces but also contribute to broader societal advancements in health equity. By embracing diversity, optimizing benefits, and nurturing supportive cultures, companies can pave the way for a future where health outcomes are equitable for all. 


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) / Maternal Mortality / Public Health in Rural Communities

The Trevor Project



Business Wire

World Health Organization

Sage Pub

Harvard Business Review

Dr. Livingston enjoys taking care of patients from the mild to the wild. He is the doctor for you, if you have been to other places and told there was nothing that could be done for your or told “It’s all in your head”. He accepts all types of cases including workers compensation, auto accident and personal injury cases. He believes chiropractic can help everyone add life to their years and get them back to doing what they love.

No items found.
Nth Degree - Safari Dan
Next Up In
Nth Degree - Safari Dan
Pinnacle Chiropractic (Mid)
Banner for Certainty Tools, Play your Game.  Blue gradient color with CertaintyU Logo
No items found.
Nth Degree - Safari Dan
Pinnacle Chiropractic (Mid)