Health Equity for Children and Youth With Special Health Care Needs: A Vision for the Future

Amy Houtrow, Alison J. Martin, Debbi Harris, Diana Cejas, Rachel Hutson, Yasmin Mazloomdoost, Rishi K. Agrawal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Health equity is a key pillar in supporting a future in which CYSHCN enjoy a full life and thrive, as envisioned by experts and community partners who gathered in 2019 and 2020 to develop the Blueprint for Change: Guiding Principles for a System of Services for Children and Youth With Special Health Care Needs and Their Families. However, a variety of contextual factors impact health outcomes across the life course and intergenerationally and must be addressed to achieve this goal. For example, poverty and discrimination, including by some health care professionals and systems, are important, modifiable root causes of poor health outcomes. There are numerous barriers to achieving health equity, including political will, lack of resources, insufficient training, and limited cross-sector collaborations. Political, cultural, societal, and environmental interventions are necessary to eliminate health disparities and achieve health equity. The entities that serve CYSHCN should be equitably designed and implemented to improve health outcomes and address health disparities. Many entities that serve CYSHCN are taking positive steps through workforce development, policy changes, community engagement, and other means. The purpose of this article is to frame health equity for CYSHCN, detail their health disparities, review barriers to health equity, provide examples of strategies to advance health equity for them, and describe a path toward the future in which all CYSHCN have a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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