Welcome

Companion Worksheet

check box with pen​Download this worksheet to track your progress and reflect on your own community’s experience.

In healthy communities, everyone has opportunities to thrive. This means everyone having access to quality schools, good paying jobs, healthy foods, quality healthcare, affordable housing, and safe neighborhoods. However, in some communities, not everyone has access to these opportunities.

This guide focuses on understanding how inequities in communities impact health. While some of these issues are easy to see, others are less clear. These deeper, underlying factors are referred to as root causes.

Once you can identify these root causes that impact health, you can begin to develop strategies to address them so that everyone in your community is afforded a fair and just opportunity for good health.

 

Let’s start with a shared understanding of some terms that we will use throughout this guide:

Equity

Equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to access what they need to thrive. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including: powerlessness and lack of access to  well-paying jobs, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care (Braveman et al., 2017).

Equality

The goal of equality is to make sure that everyone has access to the same things to be healthy.

Health Disparities

Health disparities are potentially concerning differences in health, particularly for groups at underlying or social disadvantage (e.g., race, ethnicity, or class). Disparities describe the problem or differences in health but not how those differences occurred (Braveman et al., 2017).

Health Inequities

A health inequity is a health disparity that is not only unfair but may also reflect injustice. To address health inequities, communities must remove obstacles to good health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including: powerlessness and lack of access to well-paying jobs, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care (Braveman et al., 2017).

Root Causes

Root Causes are the underlying reasons that create the differences seen in health outcomes. They are the conditions in a community that determine whether people have access to the opportunities and resources they need to thrive.

For example, the root cause of unequal allocation of power and resources creates unequal social, economic, and environmental conditions. Those conditions then lead to poorer health outcomes (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2017).

 

Braveman P, Arkin E, Orleans T, Proctor D, and Plough A. What Is Health Equity? And What Difference Does a Definition Make? Princeton, NJ: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2017.
 
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Committee on Community-Based Solutions to Promote Health Equity in the United States; Baciu A, Negussie Y, Geller A, et al., editors. Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2017 Jan 11. 3, The Root Causes of Health Inequity. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK425845/ 

 

 

Is this content helpful?