Delaware Public Media

State publishes new guide on health equity

Feb 10, 2020

Delaware’s Division of Public Health (DPH) recently released a new guideline for medical providers and others centered around health equity.

It’s the second edition of the state’s Health Equity Guide for Public Health Practitioners and Partners. The first came out in 2015.

The document is meant as a guide to help professionals in the medical field, public safety, housing and other areas understand health disparities in different communities throughout the state as well as racial inequities. 

“So we took an opportunity to focus a little more in on racial inequities, and some of the structural determinants of health that are wrapped around the social determinants of health, and provided some evidence-based data and information around those aspects as well,” said DPH Deputy Director and co-author of the guide Cassandra Codes-Johnson.   

The guide points to issues like mass incarceration, residential segregation and racism in health care as determining factors in racial health disparity in areas like infant mortality.

It says a black baby born in Delaware is 2.7 times more likely to die in the first year of birth than a white baby.

The guide also focuses on the different living conditions in specific Delaware communities and seeks to promote “place-based” health strategies based income level, air quality, public safety and other determining factors.

“Community residents that may be in Southbridge or Eastside Wilmington may say that some of their biggest health-related challenges in their communities may look very different from communities in, you know, Sussex County,” said Codes-Johnson.     

The state partnered with University of Delaware professors on this second edition of the guide. About $10,000 of state funding went into the project.