We don’t often associate the built environment of our cities as having a major role in health outcomes but as the world’s populations become increasingly city dwelling, the impact of where people live work and play on their overall health is coming sharply into focus. Besides access to affordable health care, access to affordable housing and healthy food markets, and proximity to safe playgrounds, parks, sports fields and community spaces all play a role in contributing to people’s sense of well-being and their health outcomes. In other words, your zip code is more important than your genetic code in determining health outcomes!1,2
All around New York City there is an up-zoning and building frenzy in older neighborhoods, which is creating a mushrooming of highrise luxury towers without enough attention paid to community needs, particularly truly affordable housing. Older residents are being displaced, income inequality and segregation are exacerbated as neighborhood’s communities fragment and infrastructure is strained. Yes- new development is good, but how can it be made to be more forward-thinking? How can we develop strategies to make it more comprehensive, sustainable and resilient to climate change while addressing the communities’ needs?
Back in 2012, Dr. Renata Schiavo, Health Equity Initiative's Founder and Board President, wrote an inaugural website post on why we need a social movement for health equity. Eight years later, many of the actions suggested in the post are still timely. Read to learn about 5 simple steps to help advance health equity!
January 6, 2012 at 2:02 am
We Need A Social Movement for Health Equity! Here Are 5 Easy Ways You Can Help in 2012!
by Renata Schiavo
Happy New Year from all of us at Health Equity Initiative! May 2012 bring better chances for better health among vulnerable and underserved populations! Yet, this may not be possible without first building a social movement around health equity issues.
Ask yourself: how often do people in your community, family, organization, and/or professional networks speak about health equity or are even aware that the health experience of vulnerable or underserved populations may differ from the experience of other more privileged groups? How many people know that the place where they live or work, or their ability to access not only healthcare services, but also transportation, adequate housing, education, health information, jobs, social support, or others may affect their opportunity to stay healthy or effectively cope with disease? Not only is good health a fundamental human right, but it is also a necessary pre-condition to secure and maintain jobs or succeed on one’s studies and/or many other small and big endeavors of everyday life. Advancing health equity is key to making sure that people can be happy, self-sustaining and productive in their everyday lives.