Online Program

An alliance to advance health equity in labor wage policy: Examining the work of Cook County PLACE MATTERS and Restaurant Opportunities Center Chicago

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.

James E. Bloyd, MPH, Community Epidemiology and Health Planning, Cook County Department of Public Health, Oak Forest, IL

Roberto Jesus Clack, Restaurant Opportunities Center of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Felipe Tendick-Matesanz, MS, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, Chicago, IL
Background: Cook County PLACE MATTERS (CCPM) works to eliminate health inequities by raising awareness about structural racism, and building power among affected communities to change policy. The Cook County, Illinois team is one of 19 teams in the USA supported by the National Collaborative for Health Equity. The Restaurant Opportunities Center of Chicago (ROC Chicago) found 82% of the 250,000 people employed in the Chicagoland restaurant industry earn less then $10/Hour. Immigrants and people of color have these low wage jobs. Using data from two local health departments, CCPM in 2012 identified a 14-year gap in life expectancy by neighborhood Income level in Cook County, Illinois. Methods: CCPM identified food justice as its focus, given high profile discussions of food deserts and healthy food access. Despite higher rates of poverty and food insecurity among tipped-wage restaurant workers this injustice was often disregarded by food-oriented policy advocates. Labor & wage policy was deemed a structural determinant of racial, gender, and class health inequity. Results: Informed by the World Health Organization framework on health, and Patrick Fafard’s critique of the health sciences approach to policy change, an alliance between ROC Chicago and CCPM is mutually beneficial.  Collaboration includes awareness raising and policy advocacy. Recommendations: Local health departments and other health organizations focusing on health equity in all policies, poverty and nutrition should build relationships with base-building organizations such as ROC Chicago. To advance health equity, it is critical that laws allowing different minimum wages for tipped- and non-tipped workers be abolished.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Differentiate between Structural Determinants of Health Inequities and the Intermediary Determinants of Health, as described by WHO Solar & Irwin (2010); Describe the use of a Power Analysis tool for health-in-all-policy advocacy; Contrast the linear Health Sciences policy change approach to the "argumentative turn" approach to policy change, informed by political science described by Patrick Fafard. Explain the role of power in evidence, narrative, and discourse. Define base-building organizations' potential as partners in Health in All Policies initiatives.

Keyword(s): Social Justice, Health Disparities/Inequities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have completed study of the WHO framework on the social determinants of health at the doctoral level at an accredited school of public health, and am preparing my dissertation on policy change and lessons for leadership championing health equity. I have 22 years of experience working in local health departments in the USA. I am the Team Lead of Cook County PLACE MATTERS.
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.