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  • Writer's pictureIsabel Hollard

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy and Crusade for Health Equity

Updated: May 16, 2023

"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Medical Committee for Human Rights in 1966

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we celebrate the life and accomplishments of the most prominent and influential leader of the Civil Rights Movement. When most of us think of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the first things that may come to mind are his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech, the 1963 March on Washington, or possibly the Montgomery Bus Boycott; however, he also fought diligently for equal rights in health care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines health equity as “the state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health”. They continue by stating that achieving health equity “requires ongoing societal efforts to address historical and contemporary injustices; overcome economic, social, and other obstacles to health and health care; and eliminate preventable health disparities.” Dr. King greatly influenced public health by suggesting changes in programs and policies that could reduce racial inequity in health, and specifically, social determinant of health barriers caused by segregation and housing discrimination. Dr. King proved that there is immense power in words and that nonviolent resistance is an effective way to bring about meaningful change in the world.

Advancing Health Equity at BeneLynk

There is still much that needs to be done to ensure members with social health challenges are receiving the best care possible. Inequities still exist in both care and outcomes, which is why BeneLynk focuses our solutions on a common goal: to help our members live their healthiest lives by removing the disproportionate barriers our most vulnerable populations face. Whether it be with our Dual Lynk solution (which provides lower income Medicare Advantage members with crucial Medicaid benefits) or our Community Lynk solution (which provides human outreach to link members with benefit programs that help combat the specific social barriers affecting them), we are experts at mitigating or removing the barriers that prevent a more equitable health system. Additionally, in order to better understand and help your health plan members, we recruit from the diverse communities we serve. We believe that maintaining an inclusive and diverse environment is a driving force in our organization’s success.

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On this important day of remembering one of the most influential men in history and the progress he made for Black Americans, I encourage you to take the time to explore a couple of his most iconic works: the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and the “I Have a Dream” speech. They are truly inspirational and remain relevant - even decades after his passing. Additionally, check out the new sculpture in Boston Commons, The Embrace, which opened last Friday, January 13th. The sculpture depicts Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King’s embrace after he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. It not only celebrates love but the continued commitment to equity and "the dawn of an era of hope.” From the BeneLynk team, happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. May we continue to honor and fight for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision for a united and prosperous country.

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