Public health leadership is the practice of mobilizing people, organizations, and communities to effectively tackle tough public health challenges.1 Our population health goals include protecting and promoting equity and health, transforming people and place, ensuring a healthy planet, and achieving health equity. We are all public health leaders, and embodying and promoting equity is our core value.
Unless we meaningfully pursue eliminating workplace inequities in all its forms we will be hampered in addressing other inequities, including racial and health.
Essential population health goals include
protecting and promoting equity and health, transforming people and place, ensuring a healthy planet, and achieving health equity. Naturally, I am often asked to give talks on health inequities (see Presentations). My general approach is to connect
structural trauma (poverty, racism, discrimination) and toxic (traumatic) stress (adverse childhood experiences), inter-generational transmission of biological and social risk to offspring, life course neurocognitive development affecting a child’s brain, learning, behavior, and health for life, and industry exploitation of our neuro-vulnerabilities to design and market products for addiction and overconsumption (tobacco, alcohol, prescription opioids, processed foods, gambling, gaming, mobile phones, etc.
Check out the video by Mehroz Baig from the Center for Learning and Innovation, Population Health Division, San Francisco Department of Public Health to hear how Bay Area social justice and public health experts think we can move this conversation forward.
“Diseases don’t discriminate. Diseases also don’t operate in a vacuum. Public health professionals have seen disparities in health outcomes along racial and ethnic lines for decades. Data point to disparities in life expectancy, rates of new HIV diagnoses, rates of viral suppression for those who are HIV positive, rates of emergency room visits due to asthma or heart disease, among others.
In 1998, Melanie Tervalon and Jann Murray-García published a groundbreaking article1 that challenged the concept of “cultural competency” with the concept of “cultural humility.” Cultural humility is committing to lifelong learning, critical self-reflection, and personal and institutional transformation. Accepting cultural humility means accepting that we can never be fully culturally competent. Cultural humility is the foundation for establishing trust and respectful relationships, and for managing differences and conflict. Cultural humility means