Health equity means that everyone has a fair, equal opportunity to be as healthy as possible.
Achieving this requires removing obstacles to health and wellness, such as poverty and discrimination, especially for those who have historically faced health inequities based on race/ethnicity, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, poverty, geography/transportation, citizenship status, or religion/beliefs.
Health equity also includes providing access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and quality health care.
Understanding what health equity means in practice is a lifelong journey and we’re grateful to be on it with you.
Silver Thread Public Health is committed to creating a culture of belonging for everyone.
Whoever you are, wherever you come from, whoever you pray to or vote for, whoever you love, however you look on the outside, whatever abilities and disabilities you hold in your body, we are committed to ensuring the Silver Thread Public Health District is a place where you can thrive.
That is our vision for our communities, and we acknowledge that we still have much work to do.
As we continue to learn and unlearn together, we share the following resources in support of the Silver Thread becoming a place where EVERYONE can thrive.
Everyone deserves equal access to a full, healthy life, and achieving true health equity is a community effort.
No matter where you are on your health equity learning journey, we want to meet you there. We’ve created a short list of organizations and resources that can help deepen and expand our understanding and pursuit of health equity in our communities.
We'd love to hear what parts of these learning pages you found most helpful or challenging. Send us your feedback and reflections here.
Silver Thread Public Health is committed to creating a culture of belonging for everyone. We are continuously working on improving our understanding of health equity and how we can achieve it together, as a community.
In our organization pursuing Health Equity comes in the form of staff learning circles; ensuring we have pay equity and that there are no gender disparities in our pay scales; and constantly analyzing whether our programs and services are addressing unmet needs in our communities.
Our communities have been part of UpRISE, Colorado’s Social Justice Tobacco Control Movement. UpRISE’s mission is to amplify the passion of Colorado’s young people in order to expose the dangerous practices of the tobacco industry and increase awareness about why many youth use nicotine and other substances.
Over the last two years our youth leaders have identified stress and lack of support for mental health as primary root causes of nicotine use among themselves and their peers, and begun exploring ways to address lack of mental health support and stigma including lifting up outdoor activities as an essential release for stress and support for mental wellness.
Sonder is an arts and creative expression-based approach to building tools for social and emotional wellness among youth. Based off of Dr. Heather Kennedy’s work with Colorado Children’s Hospital’s Youth Action Board, and their Expressive Approaches Toolkit, Sonder is a youth-adult partnership in reducing mental health stigma and building skills for social and emotional wellbeing.
This past year and a half we have been anchoring our Sonder groups within the middle school life skills classroom context, however, we are planning to shift to an out-of-school -time format to increase access and also provide resources for homeschooled students. Explore some of the Sonder student's art and words here.
Sonder is a recently coined word, a noun, which means the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. A beautiful video visualization of the concept from it’s author can be found here. To see an example of the work that inspired our original Sonder youth groups see the original project supported by Dr. Heather Kennedy here: Sonder: Youth Mental Health Stories of Struggle and Strength.
Racism is an ongoing public health crisis that needs our attention now.
Together, we can work to eliminate racial inequities and other systems that drive health disparities through programs and practices that strive to interrupt inequities, and by continuing to learn and unlearn together.
The following are some of the resources we have found most helpful in understanding racism as a public health crisis and building skills to dismantle it. We invite you to explore them with us.
Silver Thread Public Health District recognizes that racism is a public health crisis, in alignment with the APHA & CDPHE's formal declaration. Black and Brown lives matter. Achieving our public health vision of a community culture rooted in belonging for everyone is not possible without abolishing systemic racism and white supremacy.
We are committed to addressing injustice in our communities, because inequity is a threat to public health & everyone's wellbeing. Our work will continue until all residents and visitors in our communities have the opportunity to thrive in a way that celebrates their intersectional identities.
We would like to express our enormous gratitude to the Violence and Injury Prevention – Mental Health Promotion team at CDPHE (who funds our prevention coalition work) for their leadership and language on moving towards action on dismantling racism. You can view their antiracism statement and action plan here.
Our Health Equity Learning Pages are one example of our work to learn about how racism operates and how we can address it through a public health lens. Integrating an antiracist approach throughout our prevention and other public health services is critical to addressing racism as a public health crisis in our communities.
If your business or organization is actively working on antiracism and wants to partner with public health please contact us here.
Economic inequality is the unequal distribution of income and opportunity between different groups in society, it’s also a public health crisis.
Economic inequality leads to inequalities in standards of living, education, health, and nutrition, even in life expectancy. Below are a few resources to help us understand the role of income inequality on public health.
We are committed to eliminating barriers to health and wellness for all and empowering our community to live a healthy life through education, support, and access. We run numerous programs to help everyone in our community get access to the health care, childcare, nutritious food, support, and aid they need to live a full, healthy life.
While public health isn't able to address the root causes of income inequality in our societies, we host a number of programs from our food banks, to providing links to community members with social services that are working to reduce the impacts of economic inequality.
Language Justice is an approach that creates inclusive, multilingual spaces in which all languages are honored equally and speakers of different languages benefit from sharing with one another in the language they are most able to communicate in.
Zoom’s interpretation capabilities have revolutionized online meetings. Now, in collaboration with our local language justice cooperatives, any Zoom meeting can have simultaneous interpretation with the click of a button!
The San Luis Valley Language Justice Cooperative offers a range of translation and simultaneous interpretation services in English, Spanish, and Q’anjob’al (Kanjobal). You can find more information here: https://cutt.ly/FbNnlLF or contact Diego Pons on: (719) 588-5186 – firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on community language cooperatives you can visit Denver’s Leading translation provider here: http://communitylanguagecoop.com/
All of our pages are able to be translated with the click of a button using Google Translate's integrated web translation feature. For documents that require more skilled translation than Google's AI algorithm, we contract with the SLV Language Justice Coop.
Harm Reduction includes services and education to promote the health and dignity of individuals involved in risky health behaviors.
Stopping preventable deaths and reducing risky health behaviors includes a wide expanse of public health approaches from seatbelts, work safety standards, and vaccinations, to resources for substance abuse prevention and mitigation, as well as needle exchanges and other harm reduction strategies.
While the Silver Thread Public Health District cannot yet offer all harm reduction services locally, we do serve as a resource center and will help find access to the harm reduction resource needed. Many people just think of harm reduction as needle exchanges, but harm reduction is an overall public health strategy that works to reduce harm from things we are exposed to.
Vaccinations are a form of harm reduction, seatbelts too. Even our food bank can be seen as a form of harm reduction. While we're not ending hunger, or ensuring that everyone has a job that can supply them with enough money to buy the food they need to thrive, the food bank helps reduce the harm of hunger.
Harm reduction buys us time and more chances to heal the root cause of the harm or simply reduce the risk of an activity we like and aren't willing or able to do without. Bike and ski helmets are perhaps one of the most famous and effective forms of harm reduction. How many harm reduction practices can you name from just one day in your life? Have an idea for a harm reduction strategy in our community? Share your ideas here.
Systems that consciously or unconsciously generate inequality, contribute to public health crises.
We invite you to join us in this lifelong process of working towards health equity for all.
Get curious! Ask questions, explore, learn, and unlearn. Moving towards true equity is a personal reflective journey for each of us. If you’re confused, these resources are here to help answer your questions and help us grow together.
As a community, we’re currently in a period of transition and learning. If you’d like to host an event to help those around you explore the topics raised on this website around health equity, please get in touch and we’d be happy to help you with the resources you need.