Health Departments With A Commitment To Health Equity A More Skilled Workforce And Higher-Quality Collaborations
Author: Karishma S. Furtado, Carol Brownson, Zarina Fershteyn, Marti Macchi, Amy Eyler, Cheryl Valko, Ross C. Brownson
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.