In Our Pursuit of Health Equity
here has been an explosion of interest, discussion, and action in
the pursuit of health equity. Thought leaders have moved this
issue to center stage in nearly every form of social investment and
innovation from health research to programs and policy. Health
equity has captured the passion of the public and private sectors as well as
those underserved populations for whom the science and ethical principles
most directly apply.
At Healthcare Georgia Foundation, health equity has collided with our nascent
understanding of health disparities and the social determinants of health,
creating a transformation in our view of philanthropy and the purpose of our
grantmaking. As a follow-up to my previous blog on the social determinants of
health, I offer reflections on the Foundation’s emerging view of health equity.
GARY D. NELSON, PhD,
is President of
For more than a decade, health equity has been our vision and our “north star.” We broadly define
health equity as a process and outcome where everyone in Georgia has the opportunity to attain their
fullest potential for health and well-being. Driven by ethical principles and informed by science, we have
relied on disparities in health as our opportunity yardstick to define the problem, to inform our
charitable investments, and to measure the impact we seek to make. Our Foundation’s social contract
dictates that we demand rigor, insist on evidence, take risks, and celebrate progress.
We know that individuals and communities experiencing social exclusion, marginalization,
discrimination, or disadvantages in opportunity manifest deeply intractable disparities in health and
well-being. They are the motivation for our work. While the work is complex, and collective agreement
difficult to achieve, we acknowledge and embrace those who join us, as we come to understand the
Health Equity is a journey paved with opportunities.
Health Equity is not equality, opportunity is not distributed
Communities are at the epicenter of health equity—place
E Q U I T Y
Health Equity is grounded in the ethical principle of
The best solutions to health inequities should come from those most adversely affected.
Power, leadership, and relationships are the currency for achieving greater health equity.
The pursuit of health equity will be disruptive, uncomfortable, and threatening.
Health equity is a moral, cultural, civic, and humanitarian imperative.
HEALTHCARE GEORGIA FOUNDATION