What is health equity?

What is health equity?

The best place to start is understanding what health equity is and what it is not. Our culture has defined “being healthy” as simply not being sick. However, there are complex social factors that have a powerful influence on our well-being. Health equity represents the fair and just opportunity for everyone to attain their highest level of health. This means that obstacles to optimal health (health disparities), such as social, economic, environmental, and/or physical differences, are mitigated or eliminated. Health equity is not the same as health equality, where everyone gets the same opportunities for health. Health equity acknowledges that everyone’s needs are different and allocates resources to provide each individual the opportunity to attain their full potential for health and wellbeing.

Role of Our Health Equity Committee

Health equity requires a concerted effort to increase opportunities for everyone to be healthier, including those for whom obstacles are the greatest. GRHS has a Health Equity Committee comprised of employees and leadership from many departments. The committee’s goal is to identify health disparities, propose solutions that may include policies or programs, and advise on the implementation and evaluation of interventions to address those disparities, leading to healthier communities. The committee also shares information about health equity with all employees, including how they can make a difference, such as talking about health equity in discussions about quality outcomes. If you have a health equity-related concern or suggestion, please complete the Contact Us form, and it will be reviewed at the next meeting.

Advancing Health Equity in Our Community Will Take Time and Collaboration

Addressing health equity is not something that can be accomplished in one meeting or by implementing one program. Making a substantial impact on community health takes time and requires collaboration from other stakeholders, including Horizon Public Health, transportation agencies, housing organizations, planning councils, schools, faith-based organizations, community organizations, and businesses.

Health equity is entwined throughout Horizon Public Health’s Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), which includes GRHS’s primary service area of Pope County and was adopted by Glacial Ridge Hospital for its Implementation Plan. (PDF). The needs assessment and implementation strategy illustrate the importance of collaboration between our hospital, public health, and community partners. Our hospital’s service area will be best served by combining efforts and resources, including our community partners, to address these needs and impact change.