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    Equality vs Equity

    Healthy People 2020 defines health equity as "attainment of the highest level of health for all people. Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities."

    Equality = Sameness, Equity = Fairness

    Health equity is a desirable goal/standard that entails special efforts to improve the health of those who have experienced social or economic disadvantage. It requires:

    (1) continuous efforts focused on elimination of health disparities, including disparities in health care and in the living and working conditions that influence health, and

    (2) continuous efforts to maintain a desired state of equity after particular health disparities are eliminated. Health equity is oriented toward achieving the highest level of health possible for all groups. Achieving health equity requires both short- and long-term actions:

    • Particular attention to groups that have experienced major obstacles to health associated with being socially or economically disadvantaged.
    • Promotion of equal opportunities for all people to be healthy and to seek the highest level of health possible.
    • Distribution of the social and economic resources needed to be healthy in a manner that progressively reduces health disparities and improves health for all.
    • Attention to the root causes of health disparities, specifically health determinants, a principal focus of Healthy People 2020.

    The concepts of health equity and health disparity are inseparable in their practical implementation. Policies and practices aimed at promoting the goal of health equity will not immediately eliminate all health disparities, but they will provide a foundation for moving closer to that goal.

    Summarized from Healthy People 2020 and provided by the Health Equity Institute.

     

    Citations:

    1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health. National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities. The National Plan for Action Draft as of February 17, 2010. Chapter 1: Introduction. 

    2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Healthy People 2020. Washington, DC.
     

    Definitions

    multicultural group

    Culture - An integrated pattern of learned beliefs and behaviors that can be shared among groups (i.e. thoughts, values, physical and mental abilities, socioeconomic status, etc.). (Sources: Robins et al., 1998; Betancourt et al., 2002).

     

    Cultural Competence - Practices, values and behaviors that enable effective cross-cultural interactions among diverse communities.

     

    Health Disparities – The differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions that exist among specific population groups in the United States.

    Source: National Institutes of Health

     

    Health Inequalities - The measurable differences and disparities in health status and health outcomes of individuals and groups of people.

    Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

     

    Linguistic Competence - The capacity of an organization and its personnel to communicate effectively, and convey information in a manner that is easily understood by diverse audiences including persons of limited English proficiency, those who have low literacy skills or are not literate, and individuals with disabilities. The organization must have policy, structures, practices and dedicated resources to support this capacity.

    Source: Rose, 2009

     

    Social Determinants of Health – Economic and social conditions that influence the health of people and communities (i.e. transportation, educations, health care access, access to affordable nutritious foods, etc.). These conditions are shaped by the amount of money, power and resources that people have, all of which are influenced by policy choices. Social determinants of health affect factors that are related to health outcomes. Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

     

    Social Justice - Justice in terms of distribution of wealth, opportunities and privileges within a society (New Oxford American Dictionary) promoting a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity.

    Source: National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO).

     

     

     

     

    Social Determinants of Health – Economic and social conditions that influence the health of people and communities (i.e. transportation, educations, health care access, access to affordable nutritious foods, etc.). These conditions are shaped by the amount of money, power and resources that people have, all of which are influenced by policy choices. Social determinants of health affect factors that are related to health outcomes. Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

     

    Equity Policly Levels graph

    Source: Illinois Department of Public Health. Click for link and larger image.