Chief Operating Officer
Good Samaritan Health Center
The health care system bears daily witness to the physical and psychological impact of health inequity, yet medical care and health behavior change alone can prevent at best only 50 percent of premature deaths in the United States. Health care systems wanting to advance health equity need to incorporate social determinants of health within the context of racism, poverty, and other systems of oppression in their work. Yet health care systems are already working at full capacity and are plagued by their own histories of hierarchy, paternalism, exclusivity, and bias. This is the reality in metro Atlanta, where Breanna works as a family nurse practitioner and chief operating officer for a non-profit clinic. Life expectancy in the neighborhood is 23 years less than neighborhoods just miles away, a trend visible throughout the U.S.
Promoting health equity requires health care systems to transform, collaborating cross-sector, partnering with patients and communities, and engaging in structure level change while meeting real and urgent individual needs. Breanna focuses on trust and dignity as the basis for new collaborations and processes that make health equity work more approachable and successful in the clinical setting. She envisions health equity not only for her patients, who have always been her greatest teachers, but also for the free and charitable care sector and the health care system at large. She builds on the knowledge and work of many before her who imagine the health care system as not only a place that mitigates the damage of inequities, but leads toward a new understanding of health. She believes the health care system, through authentic and introspective change, listening, innovation, and advocacy can help the nation advance its narrative of and trajectory toward health equity.
MORE ABOUT BREANNA
Breanna Lathrop is a family nurse practitioner whose years in clinical practice have initiated a journey of unlearning and relearning, transforming her understanding of health equity and her role in it. Working in the free and charitable clinic sector, her patients have experienced marginalization, discrimination, and have been denied access to health care and other social resources. Her relationships with her patients inform her work as a clinic leader, researcher, author, speaker, and consultant. She uses her experience to challenge health care system norms and facilitate conversation and change both within the health care system and beyond.
BREANNA’S WORK AND VISION
- How Neighborhoods Make Us Sick
- Ways to Support Our Nation’s Recovery From COVID-19 (Good Samaritan Health Center Blog)
- Moving Toward Health Equity by Addressing Social Determinants of Health
- When Healthcare Isn’t Enough: A Christian Response to Social Determinants of Health