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Health Equity

What is Health Equity?

Health equity is the condition wherein everyone has the equal opportunity to attain an optimal level of health. Achieving health equity demands persistent and concentrated social initiatives to rectify historical and contemporary injustices, to overcome economic and social barriers to health and healthcare, and to eradicate preventable health disparities.

Realizing health equity requires collaborative efforts across various sectors to confront the extensive and profound health disparities found within culture. This involves widening access and eliminating the social and economic impediments that contribute to unfavorable health outcomes.

Obstacles to Health Equity include:

  1. Poverty
  2. Substandard housing
  3. Unsafe or unhealthy living conditions
  4. Limited access to quality employment
  5. Quality education deficits
  6. Access to comprehensive and high-quality healthcare

Credit: Health Disparities - Public Health - LibGuides at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (

What are Health Disparities?

Health disparities refer to preventable distinctions in the prevalence of diseases, injuries, violence, or the opportunities for achieving optimal health, primarily affecting socially disadvantaged populations. These disparities are unjust and stem from the historical and ongoing uneven allocation of social, political, economic, and environmental resources. Structural racism, discrimination, stigma, and persistent marginalization are key drivers of these barriers, disproportionately affecting underserved communities. Additionally, disparities manifest at various stages of life, from infancy through middle age, and among older adults.

Groups Most Affected by Health Disparities:

  1. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities
  2. Women
  3. Children
  4. Individuals with disabilities
  5. LGTBQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and other identities) individuals
  6. Homeless populations
  7. Incarcerated individuals

Credit: Health Disparities - Public Health - LibGuides at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (

Social Determinants of Health

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