On City Health’s dashboard, look up any city in the United States (https://www.cityhealthdashboard.com/) and cycle through the health and social metrics (diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, life expectancy, food security, education, employment), and the heat map looks more or less the same. The same neighborhoods are light blue; the same neighborhoods are dark blue.
While virtual care interventions have the potential to improve access to health services and scale effective models, they often fall short in their ability to address the upstream factors that drive these glaring neighborhood disparities in opportunities and outcomes. The gap in health outcomes between different neighborhoods is influenced by many complex factors, including historical practices like redlining and their negative consequences, education and wage inequality, limited supply of housing, inadequate public transit, unaffordable childcare, and barriers to internet access.
Addressing health disparities requires a more targeted neighborhood-level approach that goes beyond making virtual services more accessible—it demands urgent attention to the local social determinants and systemic barriers that perpetuate health inequalities.
At Ounce, we think about everything through a population health lens, where each property and neighborhood we serve is home to a specific population of residents. Despite the wide demographic distribution of residents among properties, the City Health Dashboard reminds us that opportunity and outcomes are far from evenly distributed.
Our onsite property team builds trusted relationships with residents and brings services right to their doorsteps. This embedded, community-based model gives our team unique neighborhood context and allows us to tailor the optimal service offering for each property with the goal of maximizing the impact on resident health and wellbeing. If the goal is to maximize our impact on resident health and wellbeing, it’s not enough to make services generally available; we need to take a more targeted approach to be effective.