Health Promotion & Education

Health Equity & Social Justice

What is Health Equity and Social Justice?

Healthy Equity and Social Justice is a way to confront the root causes of health inequities in the distribution of disease and illness through public health practice (NACCHO). A key part of this is to also address the social determinants of health. The conditions in which people live, work and play are determinants of equity. Equal opportunity in these areas is necessary for all people to thrive and achieve their full potential regardless of race, income, language spoken, etc.


  • Health Equity: When all people have the opportunity to 'attain their full health potential' and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of their social position or other socially determined circumstance (CDC).
  • Social Determinants of Health: The complex, integrated, and overlapping social structures and economic systems that are responsible for most health inequities. These social structures and economic systems include the social environment, physical environment, health services, and structural and societal factors. Social determinants of health are shaped by the distribution of money, power, and resources throughout local communities, nations, and the world (CDC).
  • Social Justice: The absence of unfair, unjust advantage or privilege based on race, class, gender or other forms of difference. (Ingham County Health Department)

Why is this a focus of Kent County Health Department?

Many people in our community have a hard time focusing on health, specifically prevention, because they are struggling with basic needs like adequate housing, transportation, employment, etc. Someone’s zip code shouldn’t be the primary factor in someone’s health outcomes, but it often is. It’s crucial to address health inequities to level the playing field for people to be able to make healthy choices in the first place.

How is Kent County Health Department addressing this issue?

FREE Two-day Health Equity Social Justice Dialogue Workshops are offered to anyone interested. To learn more and register please go to: