Roots of Health Inequity

Roots of Health Inequity, an online-learning collaborative developed by the National Association of County and City Public Health Officials, offers participants the opportunity to explore the root causes of inequity in the distribution of disease, illness and death. Although the target audience is local public health department staff, anyone interested in these topics can participate in the free course. To encourage deep thinking about issues of health and inequity, the course content helps participants explore five critical questions:

  • Where Do We Start? Explore the relationship among changing the culture of our organizations, engaging community members, and negotiating with political pressures strategically (UNIT 1: Where Do We Start?). This unit provides Continuing Education by participating in specified activities.
  • What Are “Frames” and How Do They Influence Public Health Practice? Consider how “mental models” or “frames” influence public health work. Discuss how values, assumptions, and interests affect the capacity for addressing health inequities (UNIT 2: Perspectives on Framing).
  • What Can History Teach Us about the Role of Public Health and Public Health Practitioners? Explore the transformation of public health during the last 150 years, including the forces that advanced or limited the field (UNIT 3: Public Health History). 
  • What Are the Root Causes of Health Inequities? Examine the importance of class structure, racism, and gender inequity in the development of health inequities (Unit 4: Root Causes). 
  • What Are the Principles of Social Justice? Explore the principles of social justice and ways to influence the institutions and agencies that generate health inequity. (Unit 5: Social Justice).

A full index of course content can be downloaded from the Roots of Health Inequity website.