Course 8 Preview

Power and Health Equity

Power relates directly to the root causes of health inequity; public health must leverage power to advance their goals. Looking for the full Course 8? Access Course 8 here.

Course 8: Power and Health Equity Introduction

Purpose and Overview

In this unit we explore the topic of power, how it relates to the root causes of health inequity explored in previous units, and how public health might leverage and share power to advance health equity. In addition to developing an understanding of power and how power imbalances have led to inequities, we explore ways that we can conceptualize and analyze power dynamics related to advancing equity. Our goal is to change the way public health uses its own power and how it works to shift power to communities who have been marginalized by systems of oppression, both of which are core to advancing health equity and improving everyone’s health.

Learning objectives

  • Define what power is and introduce frameworks for understanding power.
  • Describe the relationship between power (im)balances and health (in)equity and how power is integrally tied to the root causes explored in previous units of this course.
  • Explain the necessity of correcting power imbalances to advance health equity.
  • Learn how to analyze power to inform actions and strategies for shifting power and advancing health equity.

Course 8 Highlights

Preview image of the power mapping interactive which shows the various levels and positions of stakeholders in a debate over paid sick leave policy.
Interactive
:
10min
Using a power map we can visually examine the positioning of decision makers and influential groups from Case Study: Paid Sick Days. Where are potential untapped sources of power?
A preview image of an interactive which is a list of cards with assumptions and then the reframed position on the back.
Interactive
:
8min
Naming and reframing dominant assumptions can encourage Public Health practitioners to engage in work to shift power.
Screenshot of three faces of power video
A thumbs up, handshake, and clasping hands.
Video
:
5min
Rather than conceiving a power only negatively—as domination or power over—feminist activists and scholars have reframed power as Power To, Power With, and Power Within.

Next Steps

Illustration of a group of people of various genders and races stand and sit around a table conversing
Start a group

Learn together about the roots of health inequity by starting a group for your organization. Our course provides step-by-step guidance on how to facilitate healthy dialogue and exploration.

Illustration of a black man sitting on the ground with a laptop open in his lap
Learn independently

Enroll in the Independent Learners group and complete the course with a community of learners interested in health equity.