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What is Health Equity?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines health equity as the state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health. The ADPH Office of Health Equity and Minority Health recognizes that health equity is furthermore attainable when no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.

To achieve this fairness, we must acknowledge health disparities and inequities reflected in differences in length of life; quality of life; rates of disease, disability, and death; severity of disease; and access to treatment, as well as address social determinants of health (SDOH) that contribute to this. Learn more about SDOH.

In contrast to equality where regardless of need or circumstance all obtain the same, equity considers context to meet people’s needs. See image below.

Equality vs. Equity

Image Credit: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Visualizing Health Equity: One Size Does Not Fit All Infographic.

The video below explains health equity and the interconnected factors that contribute to health inequities and health disparities.

Page last updated: June 29, 2023