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Health Equity Clearinghouse


What is Health Equity?
New Zealand Resources
  Toolkits and Guidelines
  Selected Reading
  Selected Journals
International Resources
  Toolkits and Guidelines
  Selected Reading
  Selected Journals

*see also Counties Manukau Health Library Childhood Obesity Clearinghouse


What is Health Equity?

Health equity is the absence of avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people, whether those groups are defined socially, economically, demographically, or geographically (WHO)


The concept acknowledges that not only are differences in health status unfair and unjust, but they are also the result of differential access to the resources necessary for people to lead healthy lives (NZ MoH)


Fact and action sheets on health inequities [University of Otago and New Zealand Medical Association]

These fact and action sheets were prepared in the lead up to a visit by Sir Michael Marmot in July 2011, hosted by the New Zealand Medical Association. The purpose of these sheets includes an attempt at a brief stocktake on health inequities in New Zealand, both on what the current state of play is and what the future policy priorities might be.

Health Equity at CM Health
A blog by CEO Geriant Martin with Dr Lance O'Sullivan



What is Health Equity? [Health Equity Institute]
This three-minute motion graphic video explains how social, economic, and environmental conditions can create health inequities and how these inequities can affect health disparities.

Dr Lance O'Sullivan on a mission for health equity [Ko Awatea ]
Dr Lance O'Sullivan is at Middlemore Hospital working on a new health equity programme. In a 2016 interview on Te Karere he talks about his belief that regardless of race, age or income, people should have the same health opportunities as the next.

What Is Health Equity, and Why Does It Matter? [IHI]
David R. Williams, Professor of Public Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has been researching health inequities in the United States for two decades. In this video, he sits down with Don Berwick, MD, President Emeritus and Senior Fellow at IHI, to talk about health equity and why it’s important.
Social Media

twitter #healthequity


New Zealand Resources



Equity [Ministry of Health]

Equity Explorer [HSQC]
The Equity Explorer provides information on how health and health care varies between groups of people, and between district health board (DHB) areas of Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ).

Two types of group are compared: ethnic groups and groups based on socioeconomic status (deprivation).

The health conditions compared are diabetes, asthma and gout.

Maori Health Clearinghouse

Pacific Health Clearinghouse

Asian Health Clearinghouse

Toolkits and Guidelines

The Health Equity Assessment Tool: a User's Guide [NZ]
The Health Equity Assessment Tool: A User's Guide, has been developed by the University of Otago, Wellington, to help facilitate the use of the Health Equity Assessment Tool (HEAT).

The Health Equity Assessment Tool: A User's Guide gives a brief overview of inequalities in health, introduces the HEAT and its use, presents an in-depth look at each of the HEAT questions, and provides case examples of the tool's use.  This publication is an essential guide for those working in the health and disability to apply a strong equity focus to their work.

Equity of Health Care for Māori: A Framework [NZ]
This framework guides health practitioners, health organisations and the health system to achieve equitable health care for Māori through leadership, knowledge and commitment.


Selected Reading

Ethnic bias and clinical decision-making among New Zealand medical students: an observational study [NZ]
BMC Medical EducationBMC series – 201818:18 (2018)

The Determinants of Health for Pacific Children and Young People in New Zealand (2014) (Determinants of Health for Children and Young People). New Zealand Child and Youth Epidemiology Service (2016)

Te Ohonga Ake The Determinants of Health for Māori Children and Young People in New Zealand Series Two (2016) New Zealand Child and Youth Epidemiology Service (2016)

The cost of child health inequalities in Aotearoa New Zealand: a preliminary scoping study[NZ]
BMC Public Health 12.1 (2012): 1.

Geography matters: the prevalence of diabetes in the Auckland Region by age, gender and ethnicity [NZ]
New Zealand Medical Journal 2016; 129 (1436): 25-37

Health equity in the New Zealand health care system: a national survey. [NZ]
International Journal for Equity in Health 10.1 (2011): 1.

Health equity: what does it mean for child health [NZ]
New Zealand Medical Journal 2011; 124 (1347)

Health inequalities: unfair, measurable and remediable? The case of New Zealand. [NZ]
Paper prepared for the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health.

Policy implementation for health equity in Aotearoa: examining healthy eating and physical activity programmes in Maaori and Pasifika communities [NZ]
Paper prepared by Arnell Hinkle (2010)

Solutions to child poverty in New Zealand [NZ]
Report prepared for the Office of the Children;s Commissioner (2012)

The politics of Māori health (2016)

Selected Journals

Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health

Maori Health Review [NZ]

Pacific Health Review [NZ]

Asian Health Review [NZ]


International Resources


Equity [World Health Organisation]

Health Equity Initiative [HEI]

WHO World Database on Intersectoral Action for Health Equity (ISACS)

Toolkits and Guidelines

100 Million Healthier Lives [US]
100 Million Healthier Lives is an unprecedented collaboration of change agents across sectors who are pursuing an unprecedented result.

Mission: 100 million people living healthier lives by 2020.
Vision: to fundamentally transform the way the world thinks and acts to improve health, wellbeing, and equity to get to breakthrough results.

Together, we are systematically creating a community of solutions to the most intractable challenges that stand in the way of achieving health, wellbeing and equity across the globe.  Includes guidelines and resources.

Achieving Health Equity: A Guide for Health Care Organisations [US]
This white paper provides guidance on how health care organizations can reduce health disparities related to racial or ethnic group; religion; socioeconomic status; gender; age; mental health; cognitive, sensory, or physical disability; sexual orientation or gender identity; geographic location; or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.

The IHI White Paper includes:

A framework, with five key components, for health care organizations to improve health equity in the communities they serve:

Make health equity a strategic priority
Develop structure and processes to support health equity work
Deploy specific strategies to address the multiple determinants of health on which health care organizations can have a direct impact
Decrease institutional racism within the organization
Develop partnerships with community organizations to improve health and equity
Guidance for measuring health equity
A case study of one health care organization that has strategically integrated work to improve health equity throughout their system
A self-assessment tool for health care organizations to gauge their current focus on and efforts to improve health equity

Equity of Care: a Toolkit for Eliminating Health Care Disparities [US]
This toolkit is a user-friendly “how-to” guide to help accelerate the elimination of health care disparities and ensure our leadership teams and board members reflect the communities we serve.

Fair Foundations [Aus.]
Fair Foundations: The VicHealth framework for health equity is a planning tool for health promotion policy and practice. It outlines the social determinants of health inequities, suggesting entry points for action.

Health Equity and Prevention Primer [US]
Health inequities are more than disparities or differences in health and safety outcomes. Inequity describes unfairness and the systematic nature of disparities. The Health Equity and Prevention Primer (HEPP) serves as a web-based training series for public health practitioners and advocates interested in policy advocacy, community change, and multi-sector engagement to achieve health equity. The Primer helps practitioners integrate a health equity lens into their initiatives in pursuit of overall health and safety.

Health Equity Resource Toolkit for State Practitioners Addressing Obesity Disparities [US]
This document was created to provide examples of strategies and surveillance data which can be used to inform obesity prevention initiatives.

Improving Health Equity Through Data Collection AND Use: a Guide for Hospital Leaders [US]
To meet the needs of their diverse populations, hospitals and health systems will need to bridge the gap between collecting meaningful patient data and reviewing the data to identify inequities in health care provision and utilization, and to implement simple yet effective interventions to improve care for patients.

Improving Quality and Achieving Equity: a Guide for Hospital Leaders [US]
This guide for hospital leaders presents the evidence for racial and ethnic disparities in health care and provides the rationale for addressing them with a focus on quality, cost, risk management, and accreditation. The guide also highlights case studies and model practices, and recommends activities and resources that can help hospitals identify and address disparities in order to achieve equity for patients.

Improving Quality and Achieving Equity: the Role of Cultural Competence in Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care [US]
This report identifies aspects of cultural competence that are synergistic with current efforts to develop a system that delivers higher-quality care and discusses strategies by which the quality and cultural competence movements could be linked.

A Practitioner's Guide for Advancing Health Equity [US]
Designed to help public health practitioners advance health equity through community prevention strategies. While health disparities can be addressed at multiple levels, this guide focuses on policy, systems, and environmental improvements designed to improve the places where people live, learn, work, and play. It is designed for those who are new to the concept of health equity, as well as those who are already working to create equitable environments.

Roadmap to Reduce Disparities [US]
A US guide for health care organisations to improve minority health and foster equity, which includes a 6-step framework for incorporating disparities-reduction into quality improvement processes.

What Makes Us Healthy [UK]
A new series of infographics and accompanying blogs and commentaries to describe and explain the social determinants of health in an accessible and engaging way.These determinants include political, social, economic, environmental and cultural factors which shape the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work and age. Creating a healthy population requires greater action on these factors, not simply on treating ill health further down stream.


Selected Reading

Inclusion of equity in economic analyses of public health policies: systematic review and future directions (2017)
Twenty‐nine relevant studies were identified. The majority of studies comparing two or more interventions left interpretation of the size of the health and financial inequality differences to the reader. Newer approaches include: i) use of health inequality measures to quantify health inequalities; ii) inclusion of financial impacts, such as out‐of‐pocket expenditures; and iii) use of equity weights.

Improving Health Equity: 5 Guiding Principles for Health Care Leaders [US: IHI] (2018)
In January 2017, a team from IHI argued that health care organizations must make health equity a strategic priority. The authors identified five key steps for health care organizations: make health equity a leader-driven priority, develop structures and processes that support equity, take specific actions that address the social determinants of health, confront institutional racism within the organization, and partner with community organizations.

A Framework for Educating Health Professionals to Address the Social Determinants of Health [US]

Better Health Through Equity: Case Studies in Reframing Public Health Work (2015) [US]

Closing The Gap in A Generation: Health Equity Through Action on the Social Determinants of Health (Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, CSDH 2008)

Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS [UK]

Evidence review: Settings for addressing the social determinants of health inequities [Aus.]

Fair Society, Healthy Lives (The Marmot Review): Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England Post 2010 (Marmot et al, 2010) [UK]

Fairer decisions, better health for all: Health equity and cost-effectiveness analysis [UK]

Health Equity as a Challenging Goal for Policymakers: A Systematic Review [2016]
Global Journal of Health Science

Health literacy: a necessary element for achieving health equity [US]

Leveraging Culture to Address Health Inequalities: Examples from Native Communities: Workshop Summary [US]

WHO European Review of Social Determinants of Health & the Health Divide (Marmot et al 2012) [EU]


Selected Journals

Diversity and Equality in Health Care

Ethnicity and Health

Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care

International Journal for Equity in Health

see also

PubMed Database Search: Health Equity


This page was last updated at 1:12PM on December 17, 2018.