Fight for Health Care Equity on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

“Of all inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most appalling and inhuman.” 

Martin Luther King Jr. uttered this quote during a 1966 press conference connected to the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR) annual meeting. 

In the fight for health care equity, medical activists often invoke these words to align their movement with the civil rights movement. Racial inequities in health warrant attention as they are in stark contrast in several health dimensions. 

Spoken more than five decades ago, this quote articulates a prophetic truism still relevant in 2022. Today, there’s a 3.8 years’ life expectancy difference between racial and ethnic minorities and whites. Among the most severe racial health disparities are:

  • Heart disease
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Health insurance coverage 
  • Birth complications

Drawing inspiration from Dr.King’s message of healthcare inclusivity, many who continue the fight against healthcare inequity stay hopeful that social change will eradicate injustices in healthcare, especially on Martin Luther King Jr.’s day.

Following the fight against COVID-19, it’s clear that the pandemic affects racial and ethnic minorities more. They’re four times more probable than white Americans to get hospitalized when tested positive

The West Oakland Health Council, launched fifty years ago, amid the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. It was the backbone of transformation in healthcare advocacy in California. As the neighborhood stronghold for health care, the council aims to improve healthcare for the community it serves. 

The West Oakland Health Council has five clinic sites in Berkley, West Oakland, and East Oakland, mainly within the East Bay. The services offered include:

  • Family health care
  • Pediatric medicine
  • Dental health care
  • Ophthalmology
  • Behavioral health care

As a recipient of federal grants by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the West Oakland Health Council Medical Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center. We serve those with medical, Medicare, other insurance, and those without insurance.