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Mind the gap(s) | Purposeful Connections

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Gaps are a way of life for underserved populations. Gaps in healthcare access, treatment, and outcomes. Gaps in education, opportunity, and wealth. Closing those gaps requires many incremental changes that slowly bring the rural, the poor, the BIPOC, the LGBTQ+, the women, the disabled, and other marginalized groups closer to equity. For some, that is a telehealth service bringing pregnant women closer to quality care, no matter where they are physically. For others, that's collecting, analyzing, and acting on data behind the lack of Black wealth. The stories in this edition are just a few examples of how innovators, researchers, and policymakers are driving small changes that will, hopefully, add up to far more than the sum of their parts: closing these gaps for good.

A diversity score could could be the key to addressing health disparities. Non-Hispanics made up 75% of all clinical trial participants in 2020, according to research cited in Axios. Put simply: "That means treatments or cures developed through research that largely excludes Latinos and other demographics might not work for them or cause unforeseen side effects." Under a newly-proposed strategy called DRIVE, clinical trials (particularly those focused on cancer) would be scored based on representation of minority groups, and would require a minimum score in order for researchers to publish their findings in academic journals or present at major conferences.

Black families in the U.S. have only one-eighth the wealth that white families have--and the gap has widened in recent years. To accelerate policy and action aimed at closing this gap, nonprofit organization Prosperity Now and Bloomberg Philanthropies' Greenwood Initiative are launching the Black Wealth Data Center. Ultimately, this program will "narrow the racial wealth gap by providing relevant, nonpartisan, evidence-based information to policymakers and other leaders who are determined to design programs that could improve racial equity."

2.2 million women live in "maternal health deserts" in the U.S. The women in these areas have "no hospitals offering obstetric care, no birth centers and no obstetric providers." Poppy Seed Health, a telehealth startup, is working to extend critical prenatal and postpartum care to these women, who are more likely to experience complications during pregnancy and childbirth due to the dearth of resources. Reaching underserved populations--regardless of their geographic location--is another focus for Poppy Seed Health. Black women are three times more likely than white women to die during childbirth.

Would you like a side of carbon with those fries? Strong Roots is one of several food brands including carbon footprint metrics right on its packaging -- equipping consumers with insights into how their purchasing decisions affect the environment. Recent research found that consumers are willing to pay more for groceries that have a lower carbon footprint. According to Strong Roots, "Placing carbon details front-of-pack is a small change for us, but it has a big impact in placing sustainability front of mind."

What else is our team reading this week?

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