National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health
Let's talk is a series of seven short documents designed to promote understanding how key health equity concepts apply to public health practice.
This series of six-page resources were developed to help public health practitioners in Canada understand and discuss key health equity concepts. Each of the documents contains information on a topic, and ends with a few questions for discussion.
- Racism and health equity defines key concepts related to racism. It includes a list of anti-racist practices for public health practitioners and identifies public health roles for advancing racial equity.
- Advocacy and health equity highlights the importance of advocacy as a strategy and practice within public health. It describes four categories of advocacy action that can reduce inequities and describes the roles public health practitioners can take to support advocacy strategies.
- Moving upstream explains concepts of public health practice working on upstream, midstream, and downstream interventions. NCCDH provides concrete examples for each level, as well as ideas for actions public health practitioners can take to help shift work upstream.
- Populations and the power of language defines different terms public health practitioners use to describe population groups, and encourages organizations to choose language that empowers people and communities.
- Public health roles for improving health equity identifies a health equity framework that includes roles for public health practitioners. These roles are further explained with ideas for action in everyday work and real-world examples of what those actions look like in practice.
- Universal and targeted approaches to health equity explains targeted, universal, and blended public health interventions in the context of health equity. It shares examples and describes the strengths and challenges of each type of intervention as they relate to equity.
- Health equity describes the concepts of health equity and inequity, and what it means to take a health equity approach in public health practice.
When to use
You can use these documents to deepen your understanding of key concepts related to equity. You can share them with individuals looking to expand their knowledge base, or share and discuss them as groups as a staff development activity. These documents can stand alone or complement each other when used as a series.
Local health departments may find Moving upstream and Universal and targeted approaches to health equity helpful when developing their community health assessments, community health improvement plans, or considering new health improvement activities.
You can use Advocacy and health equity and Public health roles for improving health equity to inform individual, team, or department-wide action steps.
Health equity, Racism and health equity, and Populations and the power of language provide some definitions and fundamental background for understanding the work of advancing health equity.
Things to consider
Since NCCDH wrote the documents for Canadian public health practitioners, some of the examples and references are based on Canada's public health departments and systems; each paper's basic concepts are relevant and relatable. There is some locally-specific context related to Canada's history and its populations.
Use this resource