With April marking National Minority Health Month, Health Equity Initiative (HEI), a NY-based nonprofit organization dedicated to building community, capacity and communication resources for health equity, announces today the launch of its Health Equity Exchange Campus Kit, which is designed to enable college students and their groups to engage nearby communities on sharing their ideas on the Exchange, and joining across sectors, pooling resources and mobilizing for a common cause. Health Equity Exchange is an online forum facilitated by Health Equity Initiative to involve U.S. communities, and the organizations that work with them, in discussing ways to improve health equity. Information collected on the Exchange will inform future programs and policies. The launch of the kit also coincides with the organization’s first SHARE-A-THON (SHARE YOUR IDEAS ON HEALTH EQUITY ON HEI’S EXCHANGE) during the month of April.
The Exchange aims to further the discussion on health equity, and provides a space where community members – and organizations working with them – can highlight their thoughts about health equity, and, more specifically, two main questions: “What does health equity means to you, your family, peers and community?” AND “What are the top 3 priorities to be addressed in your community in order to make progress toward health equity?” “It’s important that communities become engaged in defining health equity in their own terms as well as expressing their needs and ideas for key priorities to be addressed,” says Renata Schiavo, PhD, MA, Founding President and CEO, Health Equity Initiative. “The comments posted on the Exchange already showcase a variety of needs and priorities that are community-specific. We invite all to comment on the Exchange and use our kit for campus-community outreach across the U.S.”
The Health Equity Exchange Campus Kit provides students - from across the United States as well as different disciplines - with an opportunity for campus-community interactions. Brandy Watts, MPH candidate at Long Island University (LIU)-Brooklyn and Spring 2012 Communication and Social Media Intern at HEI, is “thrilled” to lead some of the outreach activities listed in the Health Equity Exchange Campus Kit. “I, along with other LIU students, are planning to meet with community based organizations in Brooklyn, so we can ‘Spread the Word for Health Equity’ and drive discussion in hopes to gather people’s voices for the Exchange. The LIU team is going to obtain as much feedback from community members as we can,” says Watts.
About Health Equity
Health disparities continue to undermine opportunities for economic and social development of many communities in the United States. Health disparities are “differences that ought not to be1” they are diseases or health conditions that discriminate, and tend to be more common and/or more severe among vulnerable and underserved groups. Health disparities are linked to diverse factors, including socio-economic conditions; race; ethnicity; culture; social status; friendliness (or lack of) of clinical settings; housing; education; physical and social environment, etc.
Health equity is the ability of every person to have the same chance to stay healthy and/or “to attain his/her full health potential2” at times of disease and crisis – regardless of his/her race, gender, age, economic conditions, social status, environment, and other socially determined factors.
About Health Equity Initiative (HEI)
Health Equity Initiative (healthequityinitiative.org) is a non-profit organization dedicated to building community, capacity and communication resources for health equity. Health Equity Initiative works to encourage community action and partnerships in support of health equity while building capacity of other organizations and establishing a research-based roadmap toward progress.
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1 Robinson, 2009
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012