Health equity is about access to social determinants of health. These factors include wealth, power, and prestige. People with access to these determinants are more likely to be healthy. There are several ways to address health equity in a community. Here are a few: 1. Identify and measure health disparities in your community. 2. Build coalitions and partnerships to advance health equity policies. 3. Educate local policymakers. This is the most important step to achieving health equity in a community.
Defining health equity
Health equity is about reaching the highest possible standard of health for all people. It is not only about access to medicine when we are ill, but also about being healthy in the first place. To do this, health equity advocates must first define what health is. Here is a definition of health provided by the World Health Organization.
Defining health equity has become increasingly important for policymakers and researchers, and has become a standard term among health researchers. The most common definition of health equity is the Whitehead and Dahlgren definition, which states that “health inequality is an unfair condition that should be addressed.” It is simple, yet all-encompassing, but it does not address the complex issues related to health inequity.
Identifying health disparities in a community
Health disparities are persistent gaps in health outcomes in our communities. These gaps occur for a variety of reasons, including ethnicity, income, and access to care. However, they are most frequently associated with race and ethnicity, and the resulting costs to states and the economy are substantial. For example, black people have higher rates of high blood pressure and develop the condition at a younger age than whites, and they are more likely to have heart attacks and strokes.
Addressing health disparities requires community involvement. By including patients and community members, we can build strategies to reduce disparities. There are many interventions that may seem appropriate under ideal circumstances, but if they do not target end users, they will not be effective in the “real world.” Moreover, by engaging the community, we are more likely to identify issues and problems that need immediate attention.
Building coalitions and partnerships
Building coalitions requires a strong leadership structure. While a leader may have an initial vision of what the coalition can accomplish, they should be flexible enough to respond to changing external conditions and the needs of coalition members. In addition, leadership should be shared among coalition members. Ideally, leadership should be dispersed across the coalition, ensuring that a succession of leaders will not leave an organizational vacuum.
Ensure that the coalition includes members with specialized expertise. This can help a coalition gain access to policy makers. In addition, these coalitions can benefit from membership by concerned citizens. Such individuals can serve as barometers for community attitudes and can help the coalition raise its profile.
Advancing policy change
There are many factors that go into implementing quality services and advancing health equity. These include having a skilled, diverse workforce and supportive infrastructure. It also means implementing a process that is equitable, so that individual needs are met. To address these issues, policymakers must work with consumer and health equity leaders to develop bold, transformative plans.
Currently, there are more states working to advance health equity, with different strategies and approaches. Several of these strategies are based on data and community input. These policies and strategies impact people’s lives directly. These strategies can address such issues as behavioral health access, housing and homelessness, food insecurity, and criminal justice involvement.