Special Issue "Social Equity as a Pathway to Health Equity"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 August 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Monica Wendel
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Public Health & Information Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, USA
Interests: social justice; health equity; structural determinants; racial justice
Dr. Gaberiel Jones, Jr.
E-Mail
Guest Editor
School of Public Health & Information Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, USA
Interests: wealth & health; health economics; racial justice; social justice

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The current global context has further exposed deep social and health inequities and the structures, policies, and practices that create and maintain them. These inequities transcend a single system or discipline and influence the physical, social, economic, and political environments in which we live. In public health, our paradigm clearly identifies the role of structural and social determinants in the production of health outcomes; however, our methods and foci for interventions have not yet caught up to our etiological knowledge. As a discipline, we are only recently reckoning with our lack of action to address systemic racism as a public health issue and recognize that racism is only one -ism—one of many forms of structural marginalization that cause disproportionate suffering and death.

In order to advance social equity as a pathway to health equity, we must first move the science forward in identifying leverage points for change and intervening at the more macro-levels of social ecology. This will also require the evolution of our measures and metrics, as we shift our focus from changing individual-level behavior within an environment to transforming the factors that shape environments and reproduce inequity. This Special Issue invites theoretical manuscripts, original research papers, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses related to the advancement of health equity by addressing social inequity. We are particularly interested in manuscripts that explicitly focus on the physical, social, economic, or political environment.

Dr. Monica Wendel
Dr. Gaberiel Jones, Jr.
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • social equity
  • health equity
  • racial equity
  • structural determinants
  • root causes
  • physical environment
  • social environment
  • economic environment
  • political environment

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Article
Access to Healthcare during COVID-19
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 2980; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18062980 - 14 Mar 2021
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Abstract
Ensuring access to healthcare is critical to prevent illnesses and deaths from COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 cases in health systems that have deteriorated during the pandemic. This study aims to map the existing literature on healthcare access after the appearance of COVID-19 using an [...] Read more.
Ensuring access to healthcare is critical to prevent illnesses and deaths from COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 cases in health systems that have deteriorated during the pandemic. This study aims to map the existing literature on healthcare access after the appearance of COVID-19 using an ontological framework. This will help us to formalize, standardize, visualize and assess the barriers to and drivers of access to healthcare, and how to continue working towards a more accessible health system. A total of 131 articles are included and considered for mapping in the framework. The results were also compared to the World Health Organization guidelines on maintaining essential health services to determine the overlapping and nonoverlapping areas. We showed the benefits of using ontology to promote a systematic approach to address healthcare problems of access during COVID-19 or other pandemics and set public policies. This systematic approach will provide feedback to study the existing guidelines to make them more effective, learn about the existing gaps in research, and the relationship between the two of them. These results set the foundation for the discussion of future public health policies and research in relevant areas where we might pay attention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Equity as a Pathway to Health Equity)
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Article
Stress and Cardiometabolic Disease Risk for Indigenous Populations throughout the Lifespan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1821; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18041821 - 13 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1354
Abstract
Background: Indigenous people experience the greatest cardiometabolic disease disparity in the Unites States, yet high cardiometabolic disease risk factors do not fully explain the extent of the cardiometabolic disease disparity for Indigenous people. Stress, trauma, and racism occur at high rates within Indigenous [...] Read more.
Background: Indigenous people experience the greatest cardiometabolic disease disparity in the Unites States, yet high cardiometabolic disease risk factors do not fully explain the extent of the cardiometabolic disease disparity for Indigenous people. Stress, trauma, and racism occur at high rates within Indigenous communities and have not been well explored as significant contributors to cardiometabolic disease disparities despite emerging literature, and therefore will be described here. Methods: This descriptive study explores the relationship between cardiometabolic disease risks and Indigenous-specific stressors (e.g., early childhood stress and trauma, adulthood stress and trauma, and historical and intergenerational trauma) using current literature. Indigenous-specific protective factors against cardiometabolic disease are also reviewed. Results. Increasing research indicates that there is a relationship between Indigenous-specific stressful and traumatic life experiences and increased cardiometabolic disease risk. Mental health and psychophysiology play an important role in this relationship. Effective interventions to reduce cardiometabolic disease risk in Indigenous communities focus on ameliorating the negative effects of these stressors through the use of culturally specific health behaviors and activities. Conclusions: There is increasing evidence that cultural connection and enculturation are protective factors for cardiometabolic disease, and may be galvanized through Indigenous-led training, research, and policy change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Equity as a Pathway to Health Equity)
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Review

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Review
Towards Solving Health Inequities: A Method to Identify Ideological Operation in Global Health Programs
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4393; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18094393 - 21 Apr 2021
Viewed by 617
Abstract
The function of ideology is to naturalize and maintain unequal relations of power. Making visible how ideology operates is necessary for solving health inequities grounded in inequities of resources and power. However, discerning ideology is difficult because it operates implicitly. It is not [...] Read more.
The function of ideology is to naturalize and maintain unequal relations of power. Making visible how ideology operates is necessary for solving health inequities grounded in inequities of resources and power. However, discerning ideology is difficult because it operates implicitly. It is not necessarily explicit in one’s stated aims or beliefs. Philosopher Slavoj Žižek conceptualizes ideology as a belief in overarching unity or harmony that obfuscates immanent tension within a system. Drawing from Žižek’s conceptualization of ideology, we identify what may be considered as ‘symptoms’ of ideological practice: (1) the recurrent nature of a problem, and (2) the implicit externalization of the cause. Our aim is to illustrate a method to identify ideological operation in health programs on the basis of its symptoms, using three case studies of persistent global health problems: inequitable access to vaccines, antimicrobial resistance, and health inequities across racialized communities. Our proposed approach for identifying ideology allows one to identify ideological practices that could not be identified by particular ideological contents. It also safeguards us from an illusory search for an emancipatory content. Critiquing ideology in general reveals possibilities that are otherwise kept invisible and unimaginable, and may help us solve recalcitrant problems such as health inequities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Equity as a Pathway to Health Equity)
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