SSCI E-128 Health Inequities and Health Justice in Urban Communities
This course explores the relationship between health, place, and social location, and how nested factors influence and determine the health of people and communities in urban settings. Emphasizing health as multidimensional, contextual, and socially determined, we explore the history, principles, theories, and frameworks relevant to understanding inequities in health, as well as tools and strategies for advancing justice in health across sectors of civic and community life. We explore how inequity gets under the skin and operates on the body; discuss how racism, oppression, social stratification, and systemic advantages and disadvantages all structure and perpetuate injustice in health; how systems, institutions, and policies influence health. To understand how socio-environmental factors can create pathways to health or disparities, we explore the mechanisms by which poverty, socioeconomic status, education, housing, and the built environment create and sustain inequitable health outcomes in urban communities. Understanding the social conditions people need to be healthy, we turn our attention to approaches for advancing justice in health, with particular attention to root-cause strategies. We explore community development, capacity building, and community mobilization as strategies for building power for health. We discuss health improvement interventions and how community engagement, participatory processes, and cross-sector collaboration can help create and sustain health promoting environments.