Infant Mortality Toolkit: Tackling the Root Causes



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Health equity is one of the overarching national goals of our health system, outlined in Healthy People 2020. All Illinoisans deserve to live long, healthy lives, free of unfair and modifiable differences in health status and outcomes as a result of systemic and institutional discrimination or stratification based on racial or ethnic background, education, income, or geographic area. Health equity requires that we have equitable conditions in our communities,  systems, and policies for all people and that we honor human rights.
The intention of this toolkit is to join the Illinois public health system with a national public health movement to tackle the social, environmental, economic, and political factors that are the root causes of health inequities that cause poor health outcomes.

Why we should care:

Health inequities affect everyone. They are unfair and unnecessary, but they are avoidable. These inequities are the result of the circumstances in which people grow, live, learn, work, and age or the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), and are also due to problems in the systems put in place to deal with health and well-being.  Theses Social Determinants of Health are influenced by political, social, and economic forces.

What you need to know:

Disparities in health status exist between many population groups with the greatest disparities found between people of different race or ethnic groups and between people of different incomes. There are great racial/ethnic and income disparities in illnesses and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, lung and breast cancer, and infant mortality. Interventions to reduce health inequities are cost-effective.

How you can get involved in your community:

  1. Support "Health in All" policies
  2. Conduct a Health Equity Impact Assessment
  3. Join or support a cause to improve the circumstances in which people live, work, or play
  4. Raise awareness on the Social Determinants of Health
  5. Partner with another public health or clinical health agency to determine how your agencies can work together to address inequities and SDOH