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BACKGROUND

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What is Health Equity? 
Health equity is concerned with creating equal opportunities for good or improved health and minimizing unfair health outcome trends.  In other words, promoting health equity is about ensuring that everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to attain his or her full health potential. 
 
What are Social Determinants of Health?
Social determinants of health are the community conditions (including the social, political, economic, and environmental conditions) that affect health.  For example, a girl born today may expect to live for less than 45 years or more than 80 years, depending on the circumstances in which she grows, lives, works, and ages.  Acting to improve the social determinants of health can dramatically improve health outcomes.
 
What are Some Examples of Health Disparities in Connecticut and Nationally?
Health inequities have been extensively documented in Connecticut and nationally.  For example, the Connecticut Department of Public Health prepared The 2009 Connecticut Health Disparities Report,  which includes the table below, listing all causes of death of Connecticut residents by race or ethnicity from the period from 2000 to 2004:
 
Race or Ethnicity
Number of Deaths
Age-adjusted Death Rate
Relative Risk (Minority/White)
 Excess (Fewer) Deaths/Year
Total
148,659
744.7
--
--
Black or African American
9,502
882.2
1.2
376
Hispanic
4,351
558.4
0.8
-232
Asian/Pacific Islander
641
298
0.4
-176
American Indian or Alaskan Native
212
600.5
0.8
-8
White
128,439
707.4
1.0
0
Other
16
--
--
--
Missing
5,498
--
--
--
 
Health inequity presents a complex challenge for public health systems, health care systems, and society in general.  It also burdens communities, stifles growth, and threatens basic notions of social justice.
 
Where Can I Learn More?
 
For additional resources on health equity, please click here.
 
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