Health equity and social determinants of health provide a useful lens for our work.
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It is a fundamental human right and that the attainment of the highest possible level of health is a most important world-wide social goal whose realization requires the action of many other social and economic sectors in addition to the health sector. (WHO, Alma Ata, 1978)
Improving health equity is about addressing health disparities which we can look at through the broad determinants of health which focus on socio-economic influences and outcomes that impact both individual and community population health e.g.
Income/wealth distribution and poverty
Early childhood development
Race and ethnicity
Citizenship and immigration status
Racism and discrimination
Natural and built environment
Health equity works to reduce or eliminate socially structured inequalities and differential outcomes. It is linked with broader ideas about fairness, social justice, and civil society. Or, put simply, health equity means equal opportunities for good health.
Reference: Lettner, M. (2008). Health Equity Now: A Working Paper on the Best First Steps for Ontario. Toronto: Wellesley Institute.