CultureConnect: Health Equity with Horizon VP Miriam Browning-Nance

March, 2023

The latest from CultureConnect, a podcast from the Advertising Research Foundation, discusses how diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives can impact and improve health equity, as well as what brands should know about wellness in the Black community. Horizon Media’s Miriam Browning-Nance, VP WHY Group and Multicultural lead, joined the discussion on the heels of a recent research report examining the varied hurdles facing people on their path to quality, accessible healthcare. Below are highlights from the conversation moderated by Janelle James, Co-Chair Cultural Effectiveness Council at Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) and SVP, IUU at Ipsos.

Full podcast here:

Janelle James: You placed an equity lens on healthcare in the recent study that you completed. How did you even decide where to focus and how to prioritize — what came to you as what would be most interesting to tackle first?

Miriam Browning-Nance: We did start seeing very early on in the data that there were these sets of variables that each person brings to their healthcare path. We found three intersecting variables, starting with identity: who am I and what do I bring to the table? And that’s race, ethnicity, gender, but also gender presentation, and any disabilities one may have. Then you add in the resources: what resources do I have access to in my community? That involves things like income, but it also involves what assistive technology one has if they have a disability. And then the third intersecting circle is responsibilities: what caregiving responsibilities and debts do I have? And if you put these three things together, each person has their own combination that impacts their path.

As practitioners, marketers, and media, we have to recognize this unique combination and we have to start trying to pull apart what defines people’s paths and what is stopping people from getting to care. And by figuring out how we could look at that more holistically, we can help clients prioritize which barriers they can authentically help with, and which barriers are the highest for their communities so that they can help get those patients to care.

JJ: What technology advancement, trend, or phenomenon has been most influential or disruptive when you think about health equity?

MBN: Telehealth is a big thing and has absolutely exploded since the pandemic becoming much more used and necessary, and many people and organizations feel this is really going to help with the challenge of getting to appointments. At the same time, it’s not a magic bullet. It still requires technological access and it requires a certain level of comfort, it requires you to be able to find the right provider. And we know that people want to find a provider with whom they have something in common with, that they have a certain level of comfort, a certain level of belief that they will be respected and understood and not face discrimination.

JJ: Do you have any advice for brands or businesses overall as we think about health equity in the Black community?

MBN: Remembering that no one is just one thing. We all have these complex sets of variables and that is absolutely essential when you are looking at how to communicate in-language, in-culture, and in a culturally relevant way. Also examining how you can build equity into your process along the way, whatever you do.

In the case of marketing research, that means setting out with the equity lens of having a fully representative survey panel. That means setting out with other professionals who come from a diverse range of backgrounds so that they can contribute their understanding of culture. That means the questions that you ask, how you ask them, and how you go about analyzing them. So really, at every step of the way, how do you build equity and DEI into your process? 

The full episode is available wherever you get your podcasts, linked here.

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