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We Are Public Health: Public Health and Equity

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Chair

There has been much conversation this year surrounding equity, especially when it comes to public health. COVID-19 has highlighted many of the issues of inequity that may not have been as visible before. When public health professionals talk about health equity, they mean achieving that every person has the opportunity to attain their full health potential (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). There are so many barriers for many people to achieve their full health potential, be it poverty, lack of access to health care, lack of access to healthy foods, or lack of access to a healthy home among other barriers. When we look at COVID-19, we see that people of color and those in a lower socioeconomic status are disproportionally impacted by COVID-19. When we look at why this is happening, we see that many people in these populations may live in multigenerational homes and have essential jobs where they are unable to work from home. We know that unemployment is at a high rate, which means people that many people who may have had access to health insurance in the past through their employer may not currently have access. We also know that mental health affects our physical health. COVID-19-related stress and anxiety are high, and if we add holiday stress, it just compounds the stress and anxiety levels people are feeling.

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October 2020 COVID-19 Equity Task Force Update

by Raaga Devineni, COVID-19 Equity Task Force Coordinator

We have previously reported on the establishment and activities of the New Hampshire COVID-19 Equity Task Force and want to keep you up-to-date. The New Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA), in partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Office of Health Equity and Division of Public Health Services, continues to co-convene The New Hampshire COVID-19 Equity Task Force. The task force is a collective of over 50 individuals and organizations across NH representing multiple sectors and communities that have come together to address issues of equity arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and response. This is intended to broaden the network of people/organizations so we may support each other more intentionally and strategically, not to supersede or duplicate existing efforts, and to identify any needed advocacy that some of the partner organizations may be able to pursue when we form a broader coalition.

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Inside NHPHA: A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership: Thoughts on Systemic Racism, Equity, and NHPHA

by Lisa Bujno, NHPHA President

In May, the country recoiled in horror at the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. The tragedy brought a heightened national attention to the issue of systemic racism, spurring ongoing protests about police violence inflicted upon Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Flurries of statements were issued by organizations from every sector, including NHPHA, in support of action against racism. It seemed that we had reached a juncture where transformative progress could be made toward that vision put forth by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963. 

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Inside NHPHA: A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership: Equity, COVID-19, and the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge

written by Joan H. Ascheim, MSN, NHPHA Executive Director

Equity and COVID-19

I sit writing in my new “office” looking out at the pastoral view that belies the chaos and uncertainty that is COVID-19. I know I speak for the NHPHA board when I extend gratitude and endless thanks to the front-line health care providers who are fighting this battle while lacking the equipment and resources to do so safely. Further, our thanks go out to our New Hampshire public health partners at the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) and local public health as they work tirelessly to track this virus, follow contacts, face the media, and put in countless hours working to lessen the effects of this pandemic and to plan strategically to address the needs of the people in our state.

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Inside NHPHA: A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership: Reading with Purpose to Support Diversity

by Marcella Bobinsky, NHPHA President

As a part of the NHPHA Strategic Plan for 2020–2022, I, along with Michael Reaves and Ashley Wilder, with assistance from Kayla Page of SNHU, am working on the Strategic Imperative to “Create an organizational culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Over the next few months, the NHPHA Board will explore our current relationship with these ideas, audit our current actions as to investments we have made to achieve these goals, and then establish a plan to embed actions into our policy deliberations, our committee responsibilities and our priority setting. If you are interested in joining our discussions and planning sessions, please email me at [email protected].

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