An ongoing challenge for those working to reduce inequities in health has been finding and using evidence, due in part to the traditional divide between research and practice. This challenge underscores the importance of public health organizations contributing to the evidence base. This can be done through mechanisms such as journal publications, reports, and blogs, and also through communities of practice.
Health Impact Assessment is a structured method to assess the potential health impacts of proposed policies and practices. When applied correctly, health impact assessments make it possible for staff to strengthen the health-enhancing elements of a plan, and minimize the aspects that may be harmful to health.
Targeting within universalism has been identified as a promising practice to reduce inequities in health. This practice focuses more intensely on improving the health of more disadvantaged groups through targeted programs, while at the same time offering universal services to improve the health of the entire population. This approach is often used in conjunction with the promising practice of supporting early child development. Public health programs are designed to support the healthy development of all children with a special emphasis on children living in disadvantaged circumstances.
An important challenge for public health organizations is building and maintaining the knowledge, skill and experience required to work effectively on social inequities. This challenge has led to a variety of capacity building strategies for public health recruitment, job orientation and training, and ongoing professional development.
Social marketing has been identified as a promising practice for reducing inequities in health. It is defined as “the systematic application of marketing alongside other concepts and techniques, to achieve specific behavioural goals, for a social good”. Social marketing was selected by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) as a strategy to improve the health of pregnant women living in inner city neighbourhoods.