Health Equity Initiatives

Health equity is about making sure everyone has fair access to resources and opportunities that will allow them to make healthy choices, and be their healthiest selves.  Health equity isn’t just about looking at one metric.  Gender, geography, disability, age, sexual orientation, race, and ethnicity, are just a few of the areas in which we see health inequities manifest.

In a report designed to increase consensus around meaning of health equity, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provides the following definition: “Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.”

Further, RWJF puts forth four key steps to achieve health equity:

  • Identify important health disparities.  Many disparities in health are rooted in inequities in the opportunities and resources needed to be as healthy as possible.  The determinants of health include living and working conditions, education, income, neighborhood characteristic, social inclusion, and medical care. An increase in opportunities to be healthier will benefit everyone but more focus should be placed on groups that have been excluded or marginalized in the past.
  • Change and implement policies, laws, systems, environments, and practices to reduce inequities in the opportunities and resources needed to be as healthy as possible.  Eliminate the unfair individual and institutional social conditions that give rise to the inequities.
  • Evaluate and monitor efforts using short- and long-term measures as it may take decades or generations to reduce some health disparities.  In order not to underestimate the size of the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged, disadvantaged groups should not be compared to the general population but to advantaged groups.
  • Reassess strategies in light of process and outcomes and plan next steps.  Actively engage those most affected by disparities in the identification, design, implementation, and evaluation of promising solutions

At Purdue University, we have the talent and the resources to advance health equity on campus, in the community, throughout the State of Indiana, and across the Nation and Planet.  Our goal is to not only broaden our already extensive work in this area, but also to identify thematic areas where we go deeper, and further hone our uniquely Purdue brand of health equity. 

As the cradle of astronauts, including perhaps the World’s most famous- Purdue is uniquely suited to further the use of technology as a means of advancing health equity.  Being a global leader in the science of Agriculture, Purdue can speak on topics such as food as medicine, with an authority few can match.  Purdue’s Schools of Pharmacy is leading the Nation in utilization of pharmacists in innovative ways to enhance and extend care.  And who better than Purdue’s Lamb School of Communication, to help health advocates learn how to better communicate and motivate healthy behaviors?  

It is our vision to be an institution known for impact in the Health Equity space.  We want to leverage Purdue’s 50,000 students, faculty, and staff, our extensive alumni network, our industry and academic contacts, and most of all, our passion, to help eliminate health disparities, improve health, and create a brighter future for everyone.  We hope you’ll join us on this journey towards better health for all.

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