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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: Data, Social Needs are Barriers to Focus on Health Equity at Health Departments

Although national advocacy groups and public health organizations now focus on health equity, there’s a gap between that interest and actual public health practice, according to new research from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors.

Researchers surveyed 27 chronic disease-related staff in four state health departments between December 2016 and May 2017, asking about the role that the goal of advancing health equity played in their work. Responses reflected three themes:

“State chronic disease practitioners are uniquely positioned to implement and evaluate the most effective strategies to address disease disparities of their state population,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Amy Eyler, associate professor and deputy director of the Prevention Research Center at the Brown School. “Making health equity a documented part of chronic disease prevention practice is likely to increase a supportive culture within and beyond departments.”

The study was published online March 29 in Health Equity.

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