Online Program

Education and/as social determinants of health: Research linking educational and health inequalities

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

Jessica Ruglis, PhD, MPH, MAT, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
Patricia Krueger-Henney, PhD, College of Education and Human Development, University of Massachusetts at Boston, Boston, MA
This presentation discusses findings from two youth community based participatory research (CBPR) studies in New York City on the impact of educational policy and schooling conditions on health. Together they aim to understand the ways in which social inequalities in education and policy contribute to health inequalities. Education is not only a significant predictor of lifecourse health, but it is itself a social determinant of health. Given that the United States is facing a “graduation rate crisis,” educational practices and policies that contribute to school dropout and disparities in educational achievement pose substantial public health threats. Drawing from ecological and lifecourse health models, these studies find that experiences students have in schools directly impact health and development, above and beyond health effects that educational attainment confer. Understanding how a) students experience their schools, b) educational policy affects health, and c) social inequalities in education manifest in health disparities are essential improving health outcomes along the educational gradient of health. The first study/presenter examines the ways in which schooling is embodied. Findings reveal that social and environmental determinants of health operate within schools, and that educational policy and practices affect student physical, emotional, mental, sexual and social health. The second study/presenter examines ecological and contextual factors that influence social inequalities in school. Findings highlight student experiences of the school-to-prison pipeline and educational policies of criminalization, surveillance, discipline and “safety” – all of which have negative implications for individual and institutional health. Solutions to improve health inequalities and policy implications will be discussed.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the relationship of educational inequalities to health inequalities. Differentiate educational policies that are health damaging from those that are health promoting.

Keyword(s): Urban Health, Social Inequalities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: The research presented was part of my dissertation research, which has been published. I have been conducting research, teaching and writing on the relationship of school dropout to public health (Freudenberg & Ruglis, 2007; Ruglis & Freudenberg, 2009) and on schooling as a social determinant of health. I was Kellogg Health Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in Community Based Participatory Research for health disparities.
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.