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Let's Talk: Health equity

Cette ressource est également disponible en français.

This resource is part of the Let’s Talk series. The purpose of this series it to support discussion about key concepts and their application to public health practice, decision- and policymaking.

This resource introduces and describes key concepts related to health equity and public health action to reduce inequities. Health inequities are described as systematic, unfair, avoidable, and modifiable. Health inequities are caused by decisions on how resources and opportunities are distributed, and they can be changed through strategic action for health equity.

This resource leads with a quote shared by Dr. Marcia Anderson, Medical Officer of Health in Manitoba , executive director of Indigenous academic affairs with the Ongomiizwin-Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing and vice-dean Indigenous health, social justice, and anti-racism at the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba.

“From now on instead of ‘vulnerable people’ I’m going to use the phrase ‘people we oppress through policy choices and discourses of racial inferiority.’ It’s a bit longer but I think will help us focus on where the problems actually lie.”

In this quote, Dr. Anderson reflects on the root causes of health inequities and how they are driven through structurally embedded policy decisions

Action to build health equity is a key public health role and responsibility. This resource suggests ways to put into action core public health roles to disrupt injustice and promote equity. Examples of health equity approaches and actions are included to support practitioners, decision makers, policymakers, researchers, and organizations to improve health for all.

This document replaces the 2013 resource Let’s Talk: Health equity.


Use this resource to: 

  • explore health equity related concepts, terms, and definitions to inform public health action;
  • reflect on the structural roots of health inequities and opportunities for public health action; and
  • guide reflection and discussion on how to take a health equity approach.


Related Resources:

Let’s Talk: Language of health equity

Let’s Talk: Public health roles for improving health equity

EQUIP Equity Essentials

Glossary of Essential Health Equity Terms


More from the Let’s Talk series


National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. (2023). Let’s Talk: Health equity (2nd ed.). Antigonish, NS: NCCDH, St. Francis Xavier University.  

Tags: Key concepts, Document, Report / Document, Let's Talk