PLACE MATTERS for health in important ways, according to a growing body of research. Differences in neighborhood conditions powerfully predict who is healthy, sick, and lives longer. And because of patterns of residential segregation, these differences are the fundamental causes of health inequities among different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the South Delta, MS, Place Matters team are pleased to add to the existing knowledge base with this report — “Place Matters for Health in the South Delta: Ensuring Opportunities for Good Health for All, A Report on Health Inequities in the South Delta of Mississippi.” The report, supported by a grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health and written in conjunction with the Center on Human Needs at the Virginia Commonwealth University and the Virginia Network for Geospatial Health Research, provides a comprehensive analysis of the range of social, economic, and environmental conditions in the South Delta and documents their relationship to the health status of the county’s residents.
The study finds that social, economic, and environmental conditions in low-income and nonwhite neighborhoods make it more difficult for people in these neighborhoods to live healthy lives. The overall pattern in this report – and those of others that the Joint Center has conducted with other PLACE MATTERS communities – suggests that we need to tackle the structures and systems that create and perpetuate inequality to fully close racial and ethnic health gaps. Accordingly, because the Joint Center seeks not only to document these inequities, we are committed to helping remedy them.
Through our PLACE MATTERS initiative, which is generously supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, we are working with leaders in 24 communities around the country to identify and address social, economic, and environmental conditions that shape health. We look forward to continuing to work with leaders in the South Delta and other communities to ensure that every child, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or place of residence, can enjoy the opportunity to live a healthy, safe, and productive life.