UNNATURAL CAUSES is inequality making us sick? HEALTH EQUITY research topics and resources to learn more
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Boston Public Health Commission

LOCATION: Boston, MA, U.S.A.


FOCUS AREA: Children / Families, Education, Environment / Land Use, Food security / Nutrition, Health Care Delivery, Housing / Neighborhoods, Immigration, Income & Wealth, Jobs & Work, Media / Journalism, Mental health / Psychology, Public Health, Public Policy, Race / Ethnicity, Social Inclusion, Transportation

HEALTH EQUITY INITIATIVES: We continue to see significant racial, ethnic and socioeconomic inequities in health in the City of Boston. To address these inequities and achieve health equity we need to keep community, system and policy level change as core to our goals. These goals are rooted in an organizational understanding that the state of public health is determined primarily by structures that impact people's lives and not poor individual decision-making, and that these structures are rooted in racism, classism, and other relationships of oppression that have benefited some individuals and communities at the expense of others.

The social conditions driving these inequities in Boston include poverty, residential segregation, racism, discrimination, and lack of access to affordable healthy foods, unequal distribution of physical activity opportunities, educational inequality, and lack of employment opportunities, affordable housing, and community violence. These social determinants of health are the economic and social factors that influence the health of individuals and communities can either facilitate or impede opportunities for good health. When equal opportunity to be healthy exists for all, health equity has been achieved. Through its partnerships, BPHC plans to develop strategies to address these major public health concerns.

A summary of our priority areas of work are as follows: 1)Prioritizing Health Equity •Develop action plan to address health inequities in Boston •Establish training center to expand health equity strategies across Boston and New England 2)Raising public awareness •Develop a city-wide Health Equity Campaign •Use Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? as a vehicle to educate, convene and enhance conversations with community residents, policy makers, health care institutions, educational institutions, neighborhood organizations and other stakeholders as we begin a larger movement for health equity across the city. 3) Legislative, policy and advocacy development •Disparities Bill, Violence Prevention Bill, Chronic Disease Prevention and Intervention, Re-Entry Bill, and CORI Reform •Engage community residents in public policy process 4) Data collection regulation •Pass a data collection regulation in June 2006 •Analyze hospital and health center data •Establish a Health Equity Committee to review data and develop recommendations •Train all Boston CHCs in the collection of data • Establish additional health care process and outcome indicators to be collected and reported by hospitals and health centers 5)BPHC Anti-Racism Work •Finalize a Anti-Racism Advisory Committee selection and operation process •Establish an Anti-Racism Advisory Committee •Establish recommendations for policy, systems and process changes 6)BPHC Health Equity Grants •Continue to fund equity grants to community-based, faith-based and health organizations in Boston around top funding priority areas: Neighborhood Investment, Building Health Equity, Patient Education and Navigation, Workforce Diversity and Chronic Disease Prevention and Intervention. 7)BPHC Health equity training center •Grantees receiving comprehensive training (undoing-racism, cultural competency, social determinants of health, and health equity) •Community coalition and advisory board to help guide work of center •Grantee reporting: meetings, summits, site visits and formal qualitative/quantitative reports •Evaluation of grantee work

- Host a screening event featuring UNNATURAL CAUSES
- Engage in media outreach
- Use the series and materials in trainings or classes
- Post and share information about the series with members and constituents

Visit this organization's Web site:

Visit web site(s) for special health equity projects:

Meghan Patterson
Director, Office of Health Equity, Center for Health Equity and Social Justice

Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02118

Phone number: 617.534.2675