204761 Advancing health equity: Views from local health officials and other key informants

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 1:30 PM

Erin K. Knight, MPH , School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
Rachel Poulain, MPH , California Newsreel, San Francisco, CA
Despite an abundance of health related resources, the U.S. exhibits one of the worst population health profiles among wealthy, developed countries. This poor health profile includes substantial inequities in health that have persisted over time and are increasing in many areas across the country. Health inequities are often defined as differences in health that are unnecessary, avoidable, unfair and unjust (Whitehead, 1992). However, many researchers have tried to refine this definition or re-conceptualize the idea of equity in health for different purposes. Given the normative implications of the concept of health equity, there also appears to be some debate regarding how best to operationalize it for advancing policy and practice changes.

Whereas the debate referenced above largely reflects discourse among academics, this study seeks to understand a range of issues related to advancing health equity from the perspective of the local health practitioner and other key informants. The objective of the study is to better understand how individuals and their organizations conceptualize health equity and operationalize it in their day-to-day work, and to provide recommendations for others working to advance health equity. The findings—including themes related to communication, priorities for action and obstacles to change—will be based upon semi-structured, qualitative interviews of purposefully selected key informants from across the country. The presentation will include a discussion of community-specific or unique factors for further study and consideration, and a discussion of the value of gaining a community-based perspective for advancing health equity.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe what the concept of health equity means from the perspective of the community health practitioner and differentiate this from the traditional academic definition. 2. Identify at least one theme among the communication strategies used by health organizations working to advance health equity. 3. List at least one recommendation from leaders in the field regarding the role of public health in advancing health equity.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am pursuing a PhD in Health Policy and am primarily responsible for the research associated with this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.