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Toolbox / Health Equity and Social Justice Toolkit
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Defining equity in health
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For the purposes of measurement and operationalisation, equity in health is the absence of systematic disparities in health (or in the major social determinants of health) between groups with different levels of underlying social advantage/disadvantage—that is, wealth, power, or prestige. Inequities in health systematically put groups of people who are already socially disadvantaged (for example, by virtue of being poor, female, and/or members of a disenfranchised racial, ethnic, or religious group) at further disadvantage with respect to their health; health is essential to wellbeing and to overcoming other effects of social disadvantage. Equity is an ethical principle; it also is consonant with and closely related to human rights principles. The proposed definition of equity supports operationalisation of the right to the highest attainable standard of health as indicated by the health status of the most socially advantaged group. Assessing health equity requires comparing health and its social determinants between more and less advantaged social groups. These comparisons are essential to assess whether national and international policies are leading toward or away from greater social justice in health.
Health Equity and Social Justice Toolkit
Health Equity, Social Justice
Paula Braveman and Sofia Gruskin
The NACCHO Toolbox is a repository of available resources to help local public health practitioners. Tools are produced by local, state, and federal agencies, as well as academic institutions and other stakeholders. The contents of this Toolbox are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official recommendations of NACCHO. NACCHO makes no express or implied warranty with respect to the contents and disclaims liability for any damages arising from or connected to the use of the material in this Toolbox.