NCCDPHP’s Approach to Advancing Health Equity

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At CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP), our top priority is helping people have fair and just opportunities to live their healthiest lives. People, populations, and communities can thrive when they have equitable access to resources and conditions that support healthy living, quality education, training, employment, economic stability, and other opportunities. Equitable structural and social conditions, resources, and opportunities also enable communities to bounce back faster from adversity.

To build a healthier America for all, we must confront the systems and policies that have resulted in the generational injustices, leading to racial and ethnic health inequities. NCCDPHP believes that “one-size-fits-all” approaches do not benefit all populations in the same ways and, in some cases, can widen existing health disparities. Every program in our center prioritizes health equity-focused approaches in the prevention and management of chronic disease conditions to better identify markers of health disparities and address root causes and drivers of health inequities.

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CDC’s NCCDPHP is committed to advancing health equity, which requires:

  • Fairly valuing every person and their health.
  • Addressing problems with systems in our environment, unfair practices, and unjust conditions that can weaken the health of specific groups.
  • Working with different people in specific, sensitive ways to address health conditions that affect them.

What NCCDPHP Is Doing

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NCCDPHP is advancing health equity by addressing social determinants of health and improving fair and just practice through science, programs, policies, and other interventions. These include our collaboration with partners, efforts to engage communities, communication efforts, and focus on workforce improvement.

Specifically, NCCDPHP is:

  • Embedding health equity strategies throughout the center.
  • Aligning our work with CDC’s agency-wide health equity strategies and initiatives.
  • Leading SDOH initiatives, including those that support new ways to remove structural and systemic barriers.
  • Expanding and enhancing diverse partnerships across all levels of society—individuals, community, organizations, and sectors (eg, health, environment, economy).

See how NCCDPHP’s eight divisions are working to achieve health equity:

Social Determinants of Health

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Equitably addressing SDOH is NCCDPHP’s primary approach to achieving health equity. SDOH are the nonmedical factors that influence health outcomes. They are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life.1,2

Examples of SDOH that can lead to poor health include:

  • Poverty.
  • Unsafe or unhealthy environments.
  • Poor, unsafe, or unaffordable housing.
  • Food insecurity.
  • Lack of access to quality education and jobs that pay livable wages.

Driving factors behind these negative SDOH—such as economic policies and systems, social norms, systemic racism, and climate change—have negatively affected the health and health outcomes of groups including, but not limited to African American/Black, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic or Latino, and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander people. This is why CDC has declared racism a serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of people.

  1. World Health Organization. Social determinants of health. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Social determinants of health. Accessed August 24, 2022.