142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Does income inequality make us sick?

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 8:30 AM - 8:40 AM

Ninez Ponce, MPP, PhD , Department of Health Policy and Management, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Does income inequality make the U.S., and the world, sick?   As a disparities researcher, I recognize the ecological association between income inequality, poor health and increased mortality.  Indeed, the U.S. is at the very top of this “slope of shame” where the more unequal an economy, the lower the life expectancy.  But like most economists, I view the association as messy. The messiness comes from three factors. First, it may not be income inequality eroding health, but other “culprits” that co-exist in unequal economies – notably discrimination and the unkind and unequal treatment of populations marginalized by race, class, gender and sexual orientation.  Second, some argue that economic growth cannot happen without income inequality—though the International Monetary Fund recently refuted this.  Third, the direction between health and income inequality goes both ways—income inequality may make us sick, but a healthy population could make economies more equal.  The good news is that we can capitalize on this “messiness,” and lift up out of this impasse.   Towards this goal, I will present cross-country examples in wage/tax policies, and social investments that reduce income inequality.   By varying levels of income inequality, I will depict scenarios in 2030 on how healthy the US would be given the emerging “majority minority” face of America.    I hope to animate and enumerate ways in how social movements that champion the elimination of health disparities across several marginalized populations, can collectively shift local, national and global policies towards redistributive economic justice, and population health improvement. 

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Advocacy for health and health education
Biostatistics, economics
Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Explain the link between income inequality and poor health. Discuss how local, national and global examples of wage and tax policies, and social investments can reduce income inequality and ultimately benefit health. Discuss how eliminating health disparities in race, class, gender and sexual orientation interacts with income inequalities’ effects on health. Describe how social movements from multiple stakeholders and across all sectors could enable the U.S. to become a healthier nation by 2030.

Keyword(s): Health Disparities/Inequities, Underserved Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I'm the principal investigator of the California Health Interview Survey, the largest state health survey in the United States, where I led pioneering efforts in the oversampling of Asian subgroups, and multiple language administration (English, Spanish, Cantonese/Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese and Tagalog). I have been principal investigator of major federal and foundation grants. My research contribution care spans two areas: innovating multicultural survey research, and identifying social penalties, particularly income inequality, in health and health access.
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.