What is health equity?
Imagine a world where everyone has equal access to affordable, quality health care — when and where they need it. That's health equity. By working together, we can remove barriers and close gaps in care to make health equity a reality for all people.
IEN Optum Health Equity Downtown LA Clinic – English
To be in LA is to be embraced by diversity. People you meet come from 140 countries. They speak 224 languages. Optum is working to fit health care to each one.
Dr. Jaime Ramos:
It's delivered better if it can be done in a language that they understand, in a context that takes in account where they live, the culture that they tend to ascribe to.
By giving everyone the chance to live their healthiest life, we’re elevating patient experience.
Their experience at a visit with a clinician starts at where they parked their car and ends when they leave. It starts with just general communication of the building itself.
Dr. Leslie May Ramirez:
Optum engages them by the moment they walk through the door. They will not have to speak a word of English or attempt to speak a word of English.
There are so many signs of welcome.
Dr Kate Shieh-Maynard:
Having a physician or a clinician who actually speaks your native tongue is so important, because there are so many nuances to language that you miss with translation.
Not just the doctors themselves, but the ancillary staff here are really helpful in providing that care and feeling that ease right away.
You receive patients who have had a history of experiences. When you engage them, especially when it's a language interaction, they feel like that, "Hey, finally. Finally, someone is listening to me."
We’re not just listening. We’re hearing.
And also understanding the cultural background of the patient, that's important too.
At Optum Health Equity is purposeful.
I always try to stress the importance of finding a candidate or a physician from backgrounds similar to the community they will serve, just because that will start them out on the right foot with the same cultural background and understanding.
A lot of our providers here in Optum who choose to work in these spaces have that strong mission, desire to help people.
I have gone far and wide to search for these culturally competent clinicians I'm looking for. And the farthest I've gone was through a program that was sponsored by Optum to go to other locations. In this case was in Puerto Rico. It shows what level Optum is willing to commit to find clinicians.
It’s not just who we are. It’s where we are.
Being here in a downtown, we're right here, and we're like a one stop shop. Here, they get their labs done right in the same room. Here, they can go downstairs, schedule their screening mammogram and kind of get the things that they need.
Some patients cannot afford all the medicines they may need, and we try to help them with that.
We try to offer transport or find out if their insurance can help us with transport.
Social programs, that's something that our group offers, but sometimes patients are unaware of it or sometimes they're not trusting of it. So I think that's when it's my responsibility to really explain. And, to really build that trust and bridge that trust from our own relationship. So they’re not missing out compared to other patients who are open to that type of service.
Food insecurity, health, literacy, these are things that are unique to us here yet. We still have providers who are willing to do that to meet that challenge, but also deliver solid care.
Our patients are seeing a difference.
We survey them and after their visits; a constant theme that comes up was that my doctor listens to me. My doctor understands me. My doctor cares about me. And when you hear those encounters and they're done in Spanish or in the language that they're comfortable with – Korean, Mandarin-speaking, Tagalog, those themes come through. And that also means that we truly hit the right mark.
I want to make sure that every single patient that comes to see me feels like the most important patient at that moment, the most important person at that moment, and that's what all our doctors try to provide.
I think Optum has made it possible by just being here, by just showing up and making a commitment where other places have historically ignored.
This is what allyship looks like at Optum clinic
See how doctors are changing health care to make LGBTQ+ patients feel understood and receive better care.
Addressing the care issues facing LGBTQ+ people of color
Everyone has the right to great care. Let’s remove barriers that prevent people from getting the care they want..
Reducing gaps in treatment of anxiety and depression for all
How can we help underserved people, like LGBTQ+, recognize symptoms, overcome barriers and get support?
Health inequity is a risk as great as any, but we have the tools, the partnerships and the will to address it together.– Michael Currie, Chief Health Equity Officer of UnitedHealth Group
Moving the needle
Making health equity real by building trust, expanding access and tailoring support to meet the unique needs of individuals and local communities.
Hear from two physicians leading the way toward more inclusive health care for LGBTQ+ people.
Ensuring equitable health for all
Sophie came out when she was 13, probably going into the eighth grade, but we had kind of a feeling, something was up.
I had no idea who I was at the time and I was trying to figure it out. It was so hard to find resources or people that really understood what I was going through.
She did, probably, battle some depression when she was about a pre teen. I think a couple times we would say, "Do you think it's something to be concerned about?
Yeah, she started kind of shutting down.
It was terrifying coming out to them. I put post-it notes on their bed that just said, "Guess who's straight? Not your daughter, she's gay." The hardest part about coming out was just trying figure out if this was actually what I was feeling, because I did have to look through a ton of just really weird, random, Am I Gay quizzes online, because it's the only resource I could really find.
It was nerve wracking knowing she's out there looking for resources and we are sitting here trying to support her and give her solid resources that are going to help her.
Safe resources. We want safe, credible, supportive resources.
To have specific care for the group community, the LGBT community, is very important just so that you can at least hear what you need to hear or get the support that you need.
Pride 365+ is a new initiative and part of Optum to create awareness, but also support for the LGBTQ community, family members, people that are allies.
My mom was the person that originally introduced me to the Pride 365+ program. It had information on pronouns and sexual orientations and genders and everything and definitions for everything. It was just so cool because I had never really seen that before. Especially not something that was so public and available for people that needed that support.
If I was a new parent of finding out about my own child or somebody else, to have that kind of resource available to me to, to be able to learn, it's huge. It would've taken so much of that anxiety and the worry and stuff out of it, I think, had we had some place to go that quickly and easy to find that much information.
It would've been so much easier for me. If anything, it would've just been easier for me to talk to my parents about this.
It's important that everybody feels cared for. As a nurse, I can tell you that everybody needs to know that they're worth the time and the energy.
It's very important to at least know that you're not alone in what you're going through. Just feeling extremely isolated can be so hard for someone's mental health. Honestly, if I could talk to my middle school self right now, I would say you're doing so good.
Ensuring equitable health care for all
Watch a woman's journey to find LGBTQ+ support and resources and how pride365plus.com helped her and her family.
Addressing health disparities in the LGBTQ+ community
Three new programs aim to make health care more equitable for the LGBTQ+ community.
Driving toward health equity
What will it take to achieve health equity for all? Start by improving access to care and removing obstacles so people can get the care they need, when and where they want it.
Our commitment to social responsibility
Everyone should have the opportunity to live a full and healthy life. Our focus on social responsibility is a key part of how we can help make it happen.