Addressing Social and Structural Barriers to Health Equity (Track 1)

All times are in Eastern Time (ET)

Discriminatory laws and policies create conditions that can lead to poor health for people of color, and low income, rural and marginalized communities. Public health plays a critical role in identifying the root causes of health inequity and finding effective solutions.

Topics in this track include Community Health Workers, marginalized communities, race and health, rural health, Medical-Legal Partnerships, immigration and health, and tribal health.

Structural Determinants and Racial Health Equity: Theory, Measurement, and Action

Concurrent Sessions 1: 4:00 pm – 5:15 pm, Tuesday, September 21, 2021

This session will include a discussion of the theory and measurement of structural racism and its population health impact, focusing on policy levers to address and mitigate health disparities. In particular, the contribution of housing, education, and criminal justice policies to the creation and perpetuation of racial health disparities will be discussed. The session will conclude with a call to action for public health practitioners and policymakers to explicitly consider the impact of social policies on health equity.

Applied Methods in Public Health Law to Advance Health Equity: Legal Epidemiology, Evaluation, and Policy Analysis

Concurrent Sessions 2: 10:30 am-11:45 am, Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Public health practitioners increasingly seek to advance health equity by employing methods, such as policy surveillance and evaluation, that exist outside of traditional law practice like impact litigation. Public health lawyers may pursue health equity not only by conducting assessments of laws and policies that obviously impact structural inequity, such as discriminatory housing or community economic development in under-served communities, but also by examining the equity implications of laws and policies more broadly.

Immigration Law and Public Health

Concurrent Sessions 3: 12:00 pm-1:15 pm, Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed how interactions between immigration policy and health policy shape immigrant health as well as the health of the larger community. This session will describe several pathways through which immigration law negatively impacts public health and suggest concrete reforms for improving public health preparedness. It will then focus on two specific topics: the treatment of immigrant detainees during the pandemic and the negative public health consequences of immigration surveillance in health care.

Building Racial Equity and Community into Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Promotion

Concurrent Sessions 4: 3:00 pm-4:15 pm, Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The U.S has experienced consistently high suicide rates. The pandemic has seen increased reports of depression and anxiety. There has also been renewed energy behind initiatives calling for racially equitable social structures that are responsive to community voices. This session connects these issues, demonstrating how to leverage community assets for better mental health outcomes. It also assess equitable suicide prevention strategies in Native American and Alaska Native communities, as well as reforms, like 988 lifeline legislation, which can reduce overreliance on police and promote racial health equity.

Promoting Healthy Housing through Housing Code Reform and Improved Enforcement: Examples from D.C.

Concurrent Sessions 5: 4:30 pm-5:45 pm, Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Housing quality has a tremendous impact on health. For example, poor indoor air quality due to mold can exacerbate asthma; lead poisoning affects thousands of children across the country; and exposure to pests can be harmful to health. Although most jurisdictions require that rental homes be in a “habitable” condition, habitability laws are often inadequate in scope and difficult to enforce. Drawing from D.C. examples, speakers will explore cross-sector strategies for improving healthy housing.

Lawyers, Health Care Providers, and Advocates: Partnering to Address Barriers to Health Equity for Survivors of Sexual and Domestic Violence

Concurrent Sessions 6: 10:00 am-11:15 am, Thursday, September 23, 2021

In this session, representatives from Community Legal Aid Services, Inc (CLASI), CHILD, Inc., and the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCADV) will discuss their work in addressing social and structural barriers to health equity for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Lessons learned around the value of interdisciplinary partnerships across the legal, health, and community sectors will be discussed through the lens of specific projects each panelist is engaged in.

Holistic and Upstream—Opportunities and Challenges for Tribes Using Legal and Policy Tools to Support Health Across Indigenous Communities

Concurrent Sessions 7: 1:00 pm-2:15 pm, Thursday, September 23, 2021

This session explores examples of how Tribes and Tribal Entities are applying, or can apply, legal and policy tools to support health for their peoples across sectors. This session will highlight how Bemidji Area Tribes are applying policy to support breastfeeding across their communities; challenges and potential legal solutions for Tribes in providing healthcare services in Tribal jails; and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s medical-legal partnership program’s work to address social determinants of health.

Government/Community Partnerships to Shape Public Health Policy to End the HIV Epidemic in New York

Concurrent Sessions 8: 2:30 pm-3:45 pm, Thursday, September 23, 2021

This session will feature three stakeholders—two from a local health department and one from a community-based organization and clinic—who were directly involved in New York State’s ending the HIV epidemic initiative. Their experiences will underscore the importance of government/community partnerships to increase access to HIV and sexual health services through strategic legislative and regulatory changes, a timely discussion given the 2019 Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America federal initiative.