Health Equity

What is Health Equity?

The attainment of optimal health for all people. Health Equity is achieved when every person has full and equal access to the opportunity to attain his or her full health potential.

Why does it matter?

It matters because good health should be a right vs the privilege of a few. No one should be denied this opportunity because of who they are or because of their social position in life.
When using the words, “full and equal,” it is literally impossible to talk about health equity without including historical and structural racism in the dialogue. Racism is interconnected, systematic, cumulative and intergenerational.

Although some aspects of a person’s life depend on choice and behavior, health is also shaped by community-wide factors referred to as “social determinants of health.” These determinants of health are structural factors and conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, play and age, such as:

Economic Stability Neighborhood/Physical Environment Education Food Community & Social Context
Employment Stable Housing Early Childhood Ed Hunger Support systems
Living Wages Transportation Literacy Affordable Community Engagement
Debt Walkability Vocational training Healthy Options Social Integration
Support Safety Higher Education Food Security Discrimination
Medical Coverage Parks Language Good Nutrition Poverty

What needs to be done for everyone to achieve Health Equity?

  • The root causes of health disparities and health inequities must be addressed
  • We must pay attention to marginalized groups that have experienced major obstacles to health associated with socio-economic disadvantage and historical injustices
  • We must promote equal opportunity for all people to be healthy
  • We must distribute socio-economic resources needed to be healthy in a way that progressively reduces health disparities and improves health for all
  • We must continue the efforts to maintain a desired state of equity after avoidable health inequities and disparities are eliminated