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Tackling health inequities through public health practice: A handbook for action

This handbook comes from the Washington, DC-based organization, NACCHO, which represents 2700 local health departments (LHDs) from across the United States. It provides public health practitioners with a conceptual background to the root causes of health inequities, as well as practical examples, tools and exercises to help bring these concepts to life. At just over 250 pages, you can read it from beginning to end, or use it as a “toolbox” of exercises and cases to reference for specific needs.

The authors work from a social justice perspective, pushing practitioners to seek solutions beyond basic programming and services. Instead, they emphasize the need to question and transform departmental structures, and challenge organizational culture in order to address health inequities.

The handbook is organized into two sections and 12 chapters. The first section (chapters 1-4) includes a historical overview of health equity work in public health; an account of health equity research to date; a conceptual framework with which to frame public health work on the social determinants of health and health inequities; and evaluated methods to engage practitioners and the public in dialogue around these issues.

Section two (chapters 5-12) contains case studies detailing practices that have successfully reduced health inequities, from living wage campaigns (chapter 9) to capacity building within communities (chapter 7). The appendices offer exercises, resources and articles on evaluation and measurement, social marketing, and injustice.

Use this resource to:

  • Inspire action on the underlying inequities in the social determinants of health through your practice
  • Learn where to target your efforts to best gain traction to improve the root causes of health inequities
  • Be emboldened by the experiences of others who have overcome barriers and discovered meaningful ways to reduce health inequities through public health practice

Richard Hofrichter (ed). (2006). Tackling health inequities through public health practice: A handbook for action. Washington, DC; National Association of County and City Health Officials.

Tags: Assess and report, Community engagement, Income inequality, Intersectoral action, Leadership & capacity building, Methods & tools, Modify & orient, Sex & gender, Working conditions, Document

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