162771 Establishing the Center for Health Equity at a Local Health Department

Monday, November 5, 2007: 1:30 PM

Adewale Troutman, MD, MPH, MA, CPH , College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Healthy People 2010 list two overarching goals for the nation: Improve Quality and Years of Healthy Life, and Eliminate Health Disparities. The existence of differences in health and health outcomes among certain racial and ethnic groups reflect and reveal many forms of institutionalized inequalities and inequities. Contemporary thinking links these inequities to a multitude of factors but increasingly, the evidence points to the social determinants of health as major determinants of individual behavior and exposure to differential environmental risks. Local health departments have a unique opportunity to be a major force in the elimination of those inequities through its primary core functions of assessment, assurance and policy development. In that regard the Metro Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness has created the Center for Health Equity to address the social determinants of health, empower communities to address these issues, retrain the public health workforce, and restructure its organization to bring about health equity through a process of social justice. This presentation will provide an “upstream analysis” of the causation of health inequities and describe our experience in developing the Center within a governmental unit in a traditionally focused health department. It will demonstrate how focusing on creating health equity can be a strategic way to increase the efficiency and the effectiveness of the health system and the community at large. The presentation will emphasize the challenges, constraints, successes, as well as the strategies and anticipated outcomes.

Learning Objectives:
1) Understand the principles of the effect of social determinants on the health of communities an individuals 2) Gain knowledge on the process of the establishment of a center focused on health inequities within a local health department 3) Understand the challenges of creating a “radical” organizational change within a “static” organ of government 4) Appreciate the role of the Center in changing the focus of public health practice towards one that emphasizes human rights, heath equity and social justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.