Applying a health equity frame during every phase of the data process can help communities understand and address the root causes of persistent health disparities. Marijata Daniel-Echols, PhD, Director of the Center for Health Equity Practice at the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI), and James Bell, MSW, Director of Policy & Engagement at MPHI, joined the podcast to explain the ways in which the development of research questions, data collection and analysis methods, and reporting strategies can either promote or thwart health equity. They also shared strategies and examples of how communities can capture and lift up diverse perspectives through a combination of data and storytelling.
- Learn about MPHI’s Center for Health Equity Practice and Center for Social Enterprise
- Read more about how to use storytelling as a community and organizational building tool
- View a resource on identifying and challenging dominant narratives, Advancing Public Narrative for Health Equity & Social Justice, developed by NACCHO with contributions from MPHI
This podcast is also available on iTunes, Stitcher, and TuneIn.
Takeaways from the Interview
In the words of Dr. Marijata Daniel-Echols and James Bell…
1. We cannot address social determinants of health without understanding structural inequalities
“Race, class, and gender are intertwined in almost every version of inequity in our country. The root causes of social determinants of health are guided by imbalances in power and wealth that are fueled by structural inequality. In our various job descriptions, it does not say ‘end structural racism.’ However, for so many of the problems we’re trying to tackle, that is in fact part of the strategy to solve the problem.”
– Dr. Marijata Daniel-Echols
2. Partner with communities to understand their needs and co-create shared solutions
“Sometimes you have to change your agenda. You’re not changing your mission, but you want to make sure that you’re supplying a resource or a service that is beneficial to the people in that area. So the conversation shifts to, what other needs to you have within your household even separate from what we offer? Because we want to be that conduit, that convener that can make sure we’re supplying the services that are needed for our community.”
– James Bell
3. Pair quantitative data with qualitative narratives for a more complete picture
“Part of this work is thinking about how we go to folks who normally aren’t listened to and give them some strategies to tell their stories in ways that can be applied in combination with good old data and statistics. Lots of times, the statistics will tell you what happened, but it won’t tell you how it happened or why it happened. That’s the beauty of being able to combine the qualitative and the quantitative to be able to tell a story.”
– Dr. Marijata Daniel-Echols