Roots of Health Inequity

“Social justice is a matter of life and death. It affects the way people live, their consequent chance of illness, and their risk of premature death.”

These first words from the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health Final report entitled Closing the Gap in A Generation: Health Equity Through Action on the Social Determinants of Health highlight the deep connection between lived experience, social injustice, and systematic inequities in rates of mortality, morbidity and life expectancy among different groups.

Can public health influence the unequal structuring of life conditions? NACCHO thinks public health can reach the heart of the matter: the core social injustices associated with class oppression, racism, and gender inequity. Advances can occur, even if only incrementally, by thinking differently about possibilities for practice.

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