Power Up: A call for public health to recognize, analyze, and shift the balance in power relations to advance health and racial equity of health
“Increasingly, public health practitioners recognize that to advance health and racial equity we must change the structures that cause and maintain inequity, addressing structural racism and other structures of oppression.” – pg. e3
Advancing equity requires public health to influence structural change by building power within communities that have been marginalized and by contesting the power of those who work to maintain the status quo.
This editorial calls the public health field to action and provides the lens, knowledge, and resources for public health to “increase its capacity to (1) recognize, (2) analyze, and (3) shift power.” The authors describe each of these steps, providing examples of frameworks and conceptualizations of power to use within public health. These examples and frameworks can guide public health to question and analyze power and can inform changes to public health practice that can intentionally shift power.
Use this resource to:
- deepen your understanding of power and how it influences health equity and the determinants of health, and
- facilitate discussion about power and the need for public health action to recognize, analyze, and redistribute power.
Alignment with NCCDH work:
Redistributing power is necessary to advance health equity and to influence the structural determinants of health, as described NCCDH’s package of resources on power.
Heller, J.C., Fleming, P.J., Petteway, R.J., Givens, M., & Pollack Porter, K.M. Power up: A call for public health to recognize, analyze, and shift the balance in power relations to advance health and racial equity. Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print August 3, 2023: e1–e4. Acceptance Date: June 28, 2023. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2023.307380