Racism and Racial Inequality in Healthcare

  • January 23, 2024



Whittier Bridges the Gap in Racial Inequality and Health Disparities in Healthcare

While numerous strides have been made to address racial inequities in Boston, many disparities are still persistent. Discrimination is still rooted into the fabric of the city, with Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities in the Greater Boston area experiencing disproportionate levels of social, economic, and health inequality.

For decades, Boston has strived to make amends for historical wrongdoings against people of color by encouraging communities to not only coexist but to integrate into wider society.  On this front, Boston has been largely successful with social attitudes becoming more liberal and inclusive. However, this shift has not yet resulted in the erasure of systematic oppression that members of BIPOC communities still face.

This inequality is most pronounced in the health disparities between races. Boston is a hub of modern medicine, world-class health care, and life science research centers.  Therefore, it is shocking that there is a 23-year life expectancy disparity between the city’s richest and poorest residents.  A consensus tract found that Roxbury has a mean life expectancy of 69 years, whereas Back Bay has an average life expectancy of 92 years, despite only being 3 miles apart.

The difference in access to quality health care, not only impacts individuals and families plagued by premature death and preventable illness, but also the state economy.  The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts found that health inequities faced by people of color in Massachusetts cost the state an estimated $5.9 billion each year.

This staggering number results in higher health insurance premiums, higher taxes to fund government run insurance initiatives such as Mass Health and a loss of productivity for employers and employees across industries.

Whittier pioneers targeted approaches to improving community health and wellness, with the goal of addressing disparities in health care access.  Our mission is to serve as a center of excellence that provides high quality, and accessible health care and social services that achieve health equity, social justice, and the economic well-being of our diverse populations.

Whittier provides comprehensive care to meet the needs of the whole person. The services include:

  • The Boston Health Equity Program
  • Prescription For Health
  • Men’s Health Department
  • Infectious Disease and Special Populations Department
  • Whittier’s Day Engagement Center
  • Mobile Health Services
  • Prison Release / Reentry Program
  • Early Support in Recovery Group
  • Telehealth Program and Remote Monitoring Services

Whittier serves as a beacon of hope in the communities we serve! We are deeply committed to our mission to promote wellness and eliminate health disparities and look forward to serving you with the highest quality of care.

A note about Whittier and COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in our area, we ask all clients and patients to call ahead before coming to any of our sites. We are working to take care of most clients/patients via phone/video encounter so we can meet your ongoing healthcare needs. This is for your safety and so we can provide the highest quality of care to you while following CDC guidance for COVID-19. Please call 617-427-1000 for any questions or concerns.

Whittier will provide COVID-19 testing from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday to Friday. Following CDC guidance, we recommend testing if you have a fever AND one of the following three symptoms: cough OR shortness of breath OR sore throat. Please bring your picture identification and your insurance card (if you have insurance).