Black woman speaking to her doctor. Black maternal health disparities concept
Credit: Contributed photo / The Narrative Project / Planned Parenthood of Southern New England

A recent health equity report from DataHaven discloses a startling fact: from 2017 to 2022, preventable health problems were responsible for an excess of 14,000 deaths among the Black population in Connecticut.

The method employed by DataHaven, similar to those utilized nationally, involved computing excess deaths by examining the difference in mortality rates between Black and white populations. A balanced health landscape would see equal rates across these populations. However, the study found the mortality rate among the Black community to be significantly higher. Major contributors to these deaths included preventable ailments like COVID-19, chronic kidney disease, and heart disease.

Connecticut’s overall health status ranks among the best in the country, but the benefits are far from equitable. Tiffany Donelson, President and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation, notes that racial disparities highlight significant barriers that result in poor health outcomes for people of color. She emphasizes the necessity of the DataHaven report in shedding light on where the state needs to direct its focus.

The 2023 report found:

Low-income adults in the state are five times more prone to chronic depression compared to their high-income counterparts.

Asthma appears to affect young adults aged 18-34 nearly double the rate of those 65 and above.

Discrimination in healthcare settings was reported by 15-20% of Black adults, low-income individuals, and residents of Hartford and New Haven.

Striking disparities in infant and fetal mortality rates between Black and white babies exist.

Fentanyl was identified in 85% of the state’s overdose fatalities in 2022.
Affordability and access to healthy food vary dramatically across the state, with less than half of Hartford residents feeling they have access to affordable produce.

While Connecticut’s firearm-related mortality is less than the national average, certain groups, like Black men and boys aged 15 to 24, face disproportionate risks.

DataHaven’s previous report from June 2020 discussed the link between the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects and existing social inequalities. Their latest findings further underline the need to address the persistent health disparities in the state.

“The legacy of racism continues to drive social and health-related inequities in Connecticut,” Kelly Davila, senior research associate at DataHaven, said. “By looking at the data for our various communities, we can no longer hide behind the state’s overall well-being and consider our policies a success. We must take action to correct the deep disparities that underlie the outcomes we describe in this report.”