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Roots of Health Inequity

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Date Developed: 1/2011. Source: National Association of County and City Health Officials. Presenter(s): n.a.. Type: Online Course. Level: Advanced. Length: 120 minutes.


This course contains five units that present different aspects of social justice as it relates to public health. The root causes of inequity in the distribution of illness, disease, and death are explored. Each unit provides an in-depth look at a specific topic by using interactive maps and timelines, slideshows, resource libraries, videos and interviews with practitioners. A specific example or case study is included at the end of each unit.

Unit 1: “Where Do We Start?” assesses the relationship between internal capacity building and authentic community engagement and reflects on the impact of political pressures. Unit 2: “Perspectives in Framing” considers how frames influence practice as well as how values, assumptions, and interests impact public health work and the capacity for tackling health inequity effectively. Unit 3: “Public Health History” explores the transformation of public health over the last 150 years, the forces that influenced its advances and limitations, and the implications for contemporary transformation in addressing health inequity. Unit 4: “Root Causes” examines the importance of class structure, racism, and gender inequity on tackling health inequities. Unit 5: “Social Justice” explores the principles of social justice and ways to influence the institutions and agencies that generate health inequity.

Note: Registration is required. Joining a NACCHO Learning Group is required; taking the course alone requires creating a private, closed group. CEU credit requirements include participation in group discussions and therefore require joining a Learning Group.

Learning Objectives

• Identify methods for beginning to shift elements of public health practice and organizational culture toward the elimination of health inequity.

• Examine approaches to addressing how "privilege" and "power" affect your capacity to act on the root causes of health inequity.

• Describe the components of community capacity and community engagement.

• Describe how political pressure influences public health practice.

Special Instructions

Registration to NACCHO is required. For course access, must join a group when registering.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $180,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.