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News & Press: Health Equity

Moving Toward Institutional Equity

Tuesday, April 28, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tiffany Pertillar
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Health Equity is the cornerstone of the work we do at the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD). NACDD intentionally weaves health equity concepts into all programmatic activities, including strategic planning and evaluation. We understand there can be no health without equity. Furthermore, we know health equity is a social justice issue that impacts all of us regardless of our demography. Because of this, we continue to partner with our members to ensure it is addressed it in our all of our work at the local, state, and national levels.

The NACDD Health Equity Council (HEC) has taken on the major task of addressing equity from a systems perspective. In March 2015, the HEC invited Dr. Brian Smedley, Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity, to lead a discussion on the role of residential segregation as a root cause of health inequities. Following that discussion, Louise Square, New York Department of Health and founding member of the Health Equity Council, led April’s HEC general member call to discuss moving toward institutional equity and the role public health will play in achieving it. These two very important discussions laid the foundation for NACDD’s future work on social determinants of health and the BRFSS Social Context Module.

We know that positive health outcomes are more likely to be achieved when neighborhoods have the infrastructure (i.e. food security, housing security, job security, safe playgrounds etc.) to support them. Institutions such as education, health/healthcare, and justice should work together to promote health, but at times these institutions do more harm than good because of longstanding barriers, which are often unintentional, but damaging nonetheless. These institutions were created to improve people’s lives by bringing order and justice to our country, however, they fail to include crucial concepts of equality and equity, and therefore succeed in leaving a large subset of vulnerable individuals without a voice.

The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors has begun development of an institutional equity curriculum called Moving Toward Institutional Equity. The curriculum will address issues such as implicit bias and unintended consequences, as well as, include a strong emphasis on the effect and direct relationship between institutional inequity and health. We invite you to participate on the NACDD Health Equity Council Institutional Equity Workgroup. If you are interested in joining, please contact Louise Square at louise.square@health.ny.gov. We also invite you to join the Health Equity Council. If you are interested in joining, please contact Tiffany Pertillar at tpertillar@chronicdisease.org.