Introduction and Welcome
A quarterly e-newsletter in which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) shares news, perspectives and progress in the science and practice of health equity.
Deputy Director, Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE)
Since the last Health Equity Matters newsletter, a lot has happened in the public health space. COVID-19 has, rightfully, become a more definitive focus of our public health practice. And still we seek ways to continue pursuit of pre-COVID-19 priorities, many of which have become more critical to address as COVID-19 has amplified the urgency of needs for effective, relevant public health action. Some of the perceived separations between topics impacted by shared social determinants of health have faded. A greater awareness of shared disproportionately impacted populations of concern has emerged across professionals dedicated to specific conditions and health dimensions. And the inseparable connections between us all are more fully exposed and undeniable.
Yes, this forces us to grapple with the considerable complexity of pursuing health equity as our goal. However, this occurrence should also provide encouragement because we can now see that the count of those with similar goals and aspirations is far greater than many may have imagined.
New disparities have emerged, and old disparities may persist, but this is our opportunity to address them with a collective emphasis like none previously achieved. This is our moment to ensure that health equity considerations become ingrained in more areas affecting health and health opportunities. It is our time to move beyond acknowledgement, towards supports and actions desperately needed not only to limit the effects of COVID-19, but to also alter the fundamental causes of other vast domains of disparity meaningfully.
This edition of the Health Equity Matters newsletter provides updates on how CDC and others are attending to COVID-19, and its consequences for health equity, while continuing core public heath activities. Content such as that for the CDC COVID-19 Health Equity Strategy links to information on what we are doing, how we are doing it, and why. The CDC COVID-19 Health Equity Strategy describes concrete actions to promote recovery, restoration, and a rise above pre-COVID-19 conditions. Sections on the Healthy People 2030 Initiative social determinants of health emphasis, and abiding areas of disparity such as obesity, dental care, and rural health exemplify topical focal points that remain key concentrations. The obstacles to health equity and the social forces that affect them must remain a focus of our gaze and our energies, to build a healthier future for all. Lastly, there are motivators that can help us to persevere through challenges and to find possibility amidst adversity. Aside from remembering the faces and plight of those we serve, we can look to models such as Dr. Victor Schoenbach and Leslie Williams, whose labor and contributions have persisted and accumulated across suboptimal as well as optimal times. Moreover, new highlighted resources and data offer chances to better tell and alter the health histories of diverse populations and communities.
In closing, we acknowledge that this is indeed a season of struggle and a time of trials. But we can and will endure this season and this time. We can honor the sacrifices of life and health that have been made by collectively pursuing not a new normal, but a new nation where all truly can become and be as healthy as possible.
Jeffrey E. Hall PhD., MA. MSPH, CPH
Deputy Director, Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE),
Chief, Minority Health and Health Equity (MHHE) Activity
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)