Health Equity and Partnerships

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What is Health Equity?

Downtown Milwaukee

Health equity deals with achieving the optimal level of health for all people. Health equity also entails focused societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities by equalizing the conditions for health for all groups, especially for those who have experienced socioeconomic disadvantage or historical injustices.

What are Social Determinants of Health (SDoH)?

Social factors such as housing, education, income and employment greatly influence the health and quality of life in neighborhoods and communities. These social factors determine whether or not individuals have parks and playgrounds to exercise, supermarkets to buy fresh and affordable fruits and vegetables, job opportunities to support their families, and other resources that allow them to lead healthy lives.

In A New Way to Talk About the Social Determinants of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shares a way to create more compelling, effective and persuasive messages that resonate across the political spectrum. Below is a list of six phrases that state the concept more clearly:

  1. Health starts—long before illness—in our homes, schools and jobs.
  2. All Americans should have the opportunity to make the choices that allow them to live a long, healthy life, regardless of their income, education or ethnic background.
  3. Your neighborhood or job shouldn’t be hazardous to your health.
  4. Your opportunity for health starts long before you need medical care.
  5. Health begins where we live, learn, work and play.
  6. The opportunity for health begins in our families, neighborhoods, schools and jobs.
© 2015 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 02/27/2014