The department maintains a strong commitment to social justice and health equity. Our goal is to remove the systematic and structural barriers that prevent individuals and communities from attaining the highest possible health status and best quality of life. We recognize that social factors—such as entrenched poverty, discrimination, low social cohesion, and lack of political power, among others—disadvantage certain groups and privilege others. In our research, we seek to address these social determinants of health, which have an influence above and beyond individuals’ health-related knowledge and behaviors. Accordingly, we train students to identify and analyze health disparities, with the objective of creating a cadre of social justice public health scholars and practitioners.
A guiding question in our work is: How can we integrate the department’s other strategic areas (rural health, community engagement and participatory approaches, and theoretically based and culturally informed interventions) in support of social justice and health equity?
Here are some of the social justice and health equity related projects our faculty are currently engaged in:
Promoting Culturally Appropriate Care for New Iowans
Centers of Research Excellence in Adolescent Health
Definition of New Destination Community
Iowa LGBTQ Health Survey
Factors Responsible for Racial-Gender Disparities in Alcohol Services Use