Let's Talk: Redistributing power to advance health equity
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This Let’s Talk delves into power imbalance as a root cause of health inequities. Those who benefit from and perpetuate the inequitable status quo have more power, while communities who are marginalized have less power. Power and oppression are intertwined concepts, and redistributing power is a core component of making the structural changes necessary to advance equity. Crucially, power can be harnessed or redistributed through a variety of means, many of them accessible to public health practitioners, policy and decision makers.
While introducing the concept of power as it relates to health equity, this resource explores a framework for understanding power — the three faces of power framework — to help practitioners recognize aspects of power that influence public health practice and policy. It then discusses specific strategies for redistributing power to advance health equity.
Shifting power in public health
Using examples and a short case study, this Let’s Talk explains and provides examples of what public health can do to shift power along its three faces:
- Visible power: Exercising influence in the political or public arena and among formal decision-making bodies to achieve a particular outcome.
- Hidden power: Organizing the decision-making environment, including who can access decision-making and what issues decision-making bodies are considering.
- Invisible power: Shaping information, beliefs and worldviews about social issues.
Power, specifically collective power, is at the root of public health history. This Let’s Talk explains how public health can return to these roots to advance health equity.
Use this resource to:
- describe how the redistribution of power is essential to advance health equity.
- reflect on how the redistribution of power can be incorporated into your public health practice.
- facilitate discussion on shifting public health practice to redistribute power and advance health equity.
Download the Supplement Documents:
Download the Companion Illustrations:
Companion document: Building community power for health equity: A curated list
National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. (2023). Let’s Talk: Redistributing power to advance health equity. Antigonish, NS: NCCDH, St. Francis Xavier University.
Suggested citation for illustrations:
National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. (2023). Title of image. [Online image]. Antigonish, NS: NCCDH, St. Francis Xavier University.