Equitable Health Systems
How can we build affordable, accessible, and high-quality health systems that serve everyone, everywhere?
Half of the world’s population lacks access to essential health services such as family planning and immunizations, just one example of the unfair yet avoidable differences that exist in health systems worldwide. These persistent inequalities exist both within and between countries, contributing to underserved communities such as ethnic minorities or refugees experiencing systematically worse health outcomes. Nearly 100 million people are driven into extreme poverty each year due to health expenses. The pandemic has only further underscored and exacerbated these disparities.
Even if health services were more available and affordable, embedded bias and discrimination still prevent people from achieving the best health outcomes. Ethnic and racial minorities can face mistreatment by healthcare providers who do not reflect the communities they serve or do not confront implicit biases. Exploitation and experimentation in the name of medical advances have often targeted marginalized communities, generating well-founded mistrust that can persist for generations.
The MIT Solve community is looking for eight technology-based solutions that help build equitable health systems for all, especially for the most underserved communities. To that end, Solve seeks solutions that:
Prioritize a people-centered infrastructure that ensures essential health services, equipment, and medicines are more accessible and affordable for those left out of the system.
Identify, monitor, and/or reduce bias in healthcare systems at all stages, from medical research up to the point of care.
Actively build, or re-build, trust and engagement between historically underserved communities and their health systems.
Special Call: Black & Brown Innovators program
Historical racism, exploitation, and ongoing bias contribute to communities of color in the US having worse health outcomes, higher mortality rates, and greater mistrust in the health system. As part of Solve’s ongoing work on US racial equity, we will select 1-2 solutions from the US working to address these disparities for our Black & Brown Innovators Program.