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Health Equity and Social Justice: Community Models, National Priorities. Adewale Troutman, M.D., M.P.H. Director, Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness Atlanta Georgia . A Review of the Data. Some Selected Data.

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Health equity and social justice community models national priorities l.jpg

Health Equity and Social Justice: Community Models, National Priorities

Adewale Troutman, M.D., M.P.H.

Director, Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness

Atlanta Georgia

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Some Selected Data Priorities

  • 278,440 deaths annually in AA community estimated 80-90,000 excess deaths in 2000

    • Almost 1 in 3 deaths were excess deaths

  • 16% of the nation is without health insurance, 38% of Latino adults, 26% of African American adults, compared with 14% of white adults (Commonwealth Fund)

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Some Selected Data Priorities

  • Homicide rate for AA is 6x’s that for whites

  • Hypertension rate is 4x’s greater for AA than for whites

  • AA life expectancy is 71.3, 61.5 for AA men in Fulton County

    • >78 for the nation

  • Infant mortality rate for AA> 2x white rate

    • In some areas >6x white rate

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Data (Cont.) Priorities

  • Breast cancer incidence & mortality

    • Whites 113.2/100,000 & 25.7/100,000

    • African Americans 99.3/100,000 & 31.4/100,000

    • Latinos 69.4/100,000 & 15.3/100,000

  • Latinos almost twice as likely to die from diabetes as whites

  • Pima Indians have one of the highest diabetes rates in the world

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Data (Cont.) Priorities

  • African American men have the highest incidence & mortality rates of prostate cancer in the world

  • Prostate cancer rate AA man > 2x that of white men

  • African American men 3x more likely to die from prostate cancer than white men in Georgia

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Data (Cont.) Priorities

  • HIV/AIDS: 56% of the >700,000 AIDS cases are either African American or Latino

    • AA 37% but 12 % of population

    • Latino 18% but 13% of population

    • 81% of female cases with & 58% of pediatric cases in AA community

  • In 1999, AIDS accounted for 50% of all African American deaths & 18% of Latino deaths

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More Data Priorities

  • African American age adjusted death rates exceeded those for whites

    • By 77% in stroke

    • By 47% for heart disease

    • By 34% for cancer

    • By 655% for HIV infection

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Life Expectancy Priorities

  • Nationally (African American men = 67)

  • Fulton County 61.5

  • White men 70.7

  • White women 79+

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Socioeconomic Status and Health Priorities

  • Occupation

  • Education

  • Income

    • Believed to be the biggest contributor to health status

  • SES as correlate to health outcomes

  • PQLI and literacy

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Socioeconomic Factors Priorities

  • Correlate of race

  • Must correct for SES when looking at race

  • Prevailing measures imperfect proxies

    • Multiple variations within SES

  • Standard measures have different meanings for different races

    • Purchasing power will differ between races

    • Low SES AA pay more than whites for rent

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SES (Cont.) Priorities

  • At every level, whites have more assets that blacks

  • Blacks have less valuable homes

  • Whites earn 1.5x’s than Blacks, possess 4 times as much wealth

  • Blacks more likely to be first generation middle class

  • More likely to be supporting poorer relatives

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SES (Cont.) Priorities

  • Do not capture effect of lifetime exposure to deprivation

  • Lack of childhood prevention may have long term effects

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The World As We Know It Priorities

  • The reality of the haves and the have nots

  • The growth of the gap

    • Concentration of wealth in the hands of a shrinking few

    • The immorality and unacceptable nature of a permanent underclass

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Medical Care Priorities

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Medical Care Priorities

  • Persistence in huge variations in quality and quantity of care

  • AA more than twice as likely to receive care in hospital ER’s and clinics where less likely to receive continuity of care (different provider each visit)

  • AA more likely to be dissatisfied with care

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Medical Care Priorities

  • More likely to receive inadequate information about care, instructions, medication information and information about presenting problem

  • Increased proportion of AA without health insurance (increased from18-25% in 10 years)

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More Data Priorities

  • Survey of physician attitudes (Van Ryn& Burke 2000) after correction for SES

    • AA less intelligent, less educated, more likely to be alcoholics and drug abusers, more likely to fail to comply

    • Less likely to have social support

    • Less likely to participate in cardiac rehabilitation

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Health Priorities

  • “Not merely the absence of disease but the presence of physical, psychological, social economic and spiritual well being”

  • “The harmonious balance of mind, body and spirit”

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Equity Priorities

  • Justice according to natural law or right

  • Freedom from bias or favoritism

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Justice Priorities

  • The quality of fairness

  • The principle of moral rightness; equity

  • Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude

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Social Justice Priorities

  • The application of principles of justice to the broadest definition of society

  • Implies

    • Equity

    • Equal access to societal power, goods and services

  • Universal respect for human and civil rights

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Racism Priorities

  • “An ideology of inferiority that is used to justify the unequal treatment of members of groups defined as inferior, by both individuals and social institutions”

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Levels of Racism Priorities

  • Personally Mediated: Differential assumptions and about the abilities, motives and intentions of others according to their race that may lead to differential actions towards members of that race

  • Internalized: Acceptance by members of the stigmatized race of negative messages about their own intrinsic self worth (self devaluation, helplessness and hopelessness)

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Levels of Racism Priorities

  • Institutionalized: The differential access to goods, services and opportunities of society by race. May be manifested through law, institutional structure, covert or overt privilege & inherited disadvantage

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Human Rights: A higher order right MORALLY based and UNIVERSAL. It belongs to all persons equally because they are human beings(Declaration of Independence)

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The Right to Health law

  • Preamble to the constitution of the WHO states “The enjoyment of the highest standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition”

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The Right to Health law

  • The Declaration of Alma Ata, International Conference on Primary Health Care “The right to health is the most important social goal”

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The Right to Health law

  • The International Declaration of Human Rights “Everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of his family including food, clothing, housing and medical care”

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The Right to Health law

  • Affirmed by:

    • The Covenant of the Rights of the Child

    • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination Against Women

    • The ICESCR

      • “The right to the enjoyment of the highest standard of physical and mental health”

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The International Bill of Human Rights law

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948

  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966

  • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ( ICESCR )

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“The time has come to herald human rights as both the foundation of public health and the compass of public policy”JAPHA 2000

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The existence of health disparities concentrated among specific racial groupings is a violation of United Nations covenants, international principles of human rights and all principles of universal justice

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The Minnesota Model specific racial groupings is a violation of United Nations covenants, international principles of human rights and all principles of universal justice

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A Call to Action: Advancing Health For All Through Social and Economic Change

  • People with higher income enjoy healthier longer life

  • Disease and death rates are higher in populations that have a greater gap in income

  • People are healthiest when they feel safe

  • People are healthiest when they feel their job is secure

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A Call to Action (Cont.) and Economic Change

  • People are healthiest when they feel the work they do is important and valued

  • Discrimination and racism play a crucial role in explaining health status and health disparities

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Race and Racism and Economic Change

  • Health and health care industry suffer same history as other sectors of American society

  • Examples of access limitation secondary to race

    • CABG, angioplasty

    • AIDS medications

    • Referrals for coronary catheterization

    • Anecdotes

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Policy Development & Public Health Leadership and Economic Change

A Core Public Health Function

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Policies For Social Justice, Policies For Health Equity and Economic Change

  • Short term and long term solutions

  • Short term

    • Attention to symptoms (nutrition, physical activity, cholesterol, access)

    • Creating environment to promote health

  • Long term

    • Empowerment

    • Redistributive policies

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Policies… and Economic Change

  • Expand focus on the effects of public policy on the health of those suffering inequities

    • Welfare reform

    • Housing and development

    • Job development and health insurance

    • Literacy and health outcomes

    • Tax laws

    • Environmental policies

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Policies… and Economic Change

  • Measuring progress through “Social Health Indexing”

  • Living wage

  • Educational reform

  • Attention to short term only will just create a healthier underclass and will not create health equity because there is no social justice

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Some Concluding Thoughts and Economic Change

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What Do We Know and Economic Change

  • There is a direct relationship between poverty and health outcomes

  • Disparities in health are linked to disparities in wealth

  • Health equity and social justice are inseparable

  • Racism manifests itself in health disparities

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What Do We Know and Economic Change

  • This is a human rights issue

  • The right to health and health care

  • The civil rights movement didn’t go far enough

  • Disproportionate share of uninsured, unemployed, undereducated

  • Radical gaps in income

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What To Do and Economic Change

  • The acquisition of the tools of a systematic human rights analysis

  • Learning the language of human rights

  • Determine best practices for evidence based health policy

  • Balance between promoting and protecting human rights and promoting public health as a national policy

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What To Do and Economic Change

  • The integration of human rights education into all levels of academic and professional training of health professionals

  • Partnering with traditional human rights activists

  • Public policy aimed at economic equity

  • Universal coverage and access to high quality single standard of care

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Transformation and Economic Change

  • A new paradigm

  • Transformation of self

  • Movement from victim to empowered position

  • Conquer the them vs. us mentality

  • The force of self determination

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Social Justice and Economic Change

  • Health Status inequities are directly related to the continued existence of social injustice

  • The existence of social injustice typified by the continued growth of the gap between the haves and the have-nots, lack of access to services and care, preventive and curative is unethical and immoral

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Leadership Development and Economic Change

  • The opportunity to change the world view of public health

  • The institution in the mirror

  • Workforce development for social change

  • Healthy People 2010 & health equity

  • Core functions, essential services & social justice

  • MAAP & Social Health Indexing

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Leadership Development (Cont.) and Economic Change

  • Personal growth and development

  • Taking on the challenge of racism

  • Cultural competence (consciousness)

  • The use of the tools of public health in creating health equity through social justice

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Social Justice and Economic Change

  • The mere concept of a permanent “underclass” is inherently unethical

  • Public health practice must be manifested by a new and unrelenting movement for social justice and health equity

  • NACCHO initiative

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Some Final Thoughts and Economic Change

  • The fallacy of improved health for all

  • The recognition of social determinants as the foundation of health

  • SES & racism are key elements of causation

  • There are universal principles

  • Empowerment vs. victimization

  • The students role in understanding & change

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Moving From Rhetoric to Action and Economic Change

  • Definition of Healthy Communities

  • Focus on “Social Health & Social Determinants”

  • Address race, class & health

  • Tool of BRFSS

  • Curriculum changes (all levels)

  • Policy initiative

    • Incrementalism vs. Radical Change

  • A question of quality

  • The tool of regulation (Hill-Burton)

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What we are willing to turn our backs on, ignore or deny, is the measure of our willingness to live as hypocrites and deny the core value of ethics in our daily practice of public health and more importantly in our very lives.

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We need a social revolution based on social justice and health equity & supported by sound, sweeping policy aimed at reforming the American system

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Adewale Troutman,M.D.,M.P.H. health equity & supported by sound, sweeping policy aimed at reforming the American systemNasanan Health Consultants 1208 Clearbrook DriveAtlanta Georgia 30311adedrum@aol.com404 730 1202404 691 9608