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Health Aff (Millwood). 2018 Jan;37(1):38-46. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2017.1173.

Health Departments With A Commitment To Health Equity: A More Skilled Workforce And Higher-Quality Collaborations.

Author information

1
Karishma S. Furtado ( kfurtado@wustl.edu ) is a PhD student at the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, in Missouri.
2
Carol Brownson is a consultant at the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, in Atlanta, Georgia, and at the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis.
3
Zarina Fershteyn is director of program evaluation at the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors.
4
Marti Macchi is senior director of programs at the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors.
5
Amy Eyler is an associate professor at the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis.
6
Cheryl Valko is center manager at the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis.
7
Ross C. Brownson is the Bernard Becker Professor of Public Health at the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis and the Department of Surgery (Division of Public Health Sciences) and the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine.

Abstract

Health equity is a public health priority, yet little is known about commitment to health equity in health departments, especially among practitioners whose work addresses chronic disease prevention. Their work places them at the forefront of battling the top contributors to disparities in morbidity and mortality. A random sample of 537 chronic disease practitioners working in state health departments was surveyed on health equity commitments, partnerships, and needed skills. A small percentage of respondents (2 percent) worked primarily on health equity, and a larger group (9 percent) included health equity as one of their multiple work areas. People who rated their work unit's commitment to health equity as high were more likely to engage with sectors outside of health and rate their leaders as high quality, and less likely to identify skills gaps in their work unit. Opportunities exist to more fully address health equity in state public health practice through organizational, institutional, and governmental policies, including those regarding resource allocation and staff training.

KEYWORDS:

Disparities; Health Promotion/Disease Prevention; Public Health; State/Local Issues

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