NCEZID's Health Equity Work

What to know

  • When everyone has access to the vital conditions for health, individuals and communities thrive.
  • NCEZID prioritizes helping people have fair opportunities to live their healthiest lives.
  • NCEZID protects all people from infectious diseases while ensuring that equitable public health programs and messages are informed by science reach the people and communities at greatest risk.
A smiling black man leads a group of friends up a trail.

Unfair disadvantages to health and wellbeing

Some people have more exposure to health risks and less access to health care and other resources that support healthy living. Systemic disadvantages result in some people, for reasons they can't control, being more likely to get sick and having worse outcomes when they do. Discrimination, segregation, and historical trauma are at the root of most unfair and avoidable disadvantages to health and wellbeing.

What does health inequity look like in relation to infectious diseases?

  • Under-resourced communities can be affected more by warming temperatures and natural disasters due to diseases spread through water, fungi, mosquito and tick bites, and contact with animals.
  • Working outdoors or lack of access to screened windows can increase the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes that carry viruses.
  • Living in a home with gaps or holes can increase the risk of diseases spread by rodents.
  • Lack of access to running water or sanitation services can make handwashing and hygiene challenging.
  • Barriers to accessing healthcare, such as high costs, lack of transportation or sick leave, and lack of culturally appropriate services, can lead to delayed treatment and worse outcomes of infection.

What NCEZID is doing

NCEZID works to eliminate inequities and ensure all people gain fair pathways to protection from infectious diseases. We do this through partnerships in science, communications, policy recommendations, and public health services that lead to measurable improvements in health risks and outcomes for the people at greatest risk.

Our areas of focus

NCEZID has three overarching approaches to advance health equity. These strategies help to ensure that we work to equitably eliminate risks and prevent negative health outcomes – keeping all people safe from infectious disease threats.

  1. Strengthening capabilities. This means ensuring our workforce has a broad mix of skills, knowledge, tools, and science to advance health equity. It also means enhancing collaboration with colleagues and partners to plan public health activities and respond to infectious disease threats.
  2. Improving availability and use of data. We must ensure that timely, accurate data are collected, analyzed, and disseminated to understand inequities and their underlying contributors. Data must be used to inform actions that reduce inequities.
  3. Building strong partnerships. Protecting health is not one-size-fits-all. It takes state, tribal, local, and territorial public health agencies, communities and community-based organizations, healthcare systems and providers, and other partners working together to protect and promote health and advance health equity.

Through equity-centered public health approaches, we can collectively reduce infectious disease risks and improve health outcomes in all communities. NCEZID promotes health equity so that all people can have fair opportunities to achieve their best possible health.