The Health Equity Blog’s mission is to contribute to the discussion of health policy using evidence and research, to explore the opportunities for health equity through policy change, to raise awareness about health disparities, and to increase public advocacy for health equality.

According to the CDC, “Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to ‘attain his or her full health potential’ and no one is ‘disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.’”

Achievement of full health potential is necessary in all aspects of life – from running errands to relationships with loved ones. Some people are born into environments that limit their ability to achieve their full health potential. We believe that because society created many health inequalities, society can also fix them.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Policies We Are Thankful For - Day 1

Health policies improve lives every single day. These policies are varied and wide reaching - from national policies that set standards so that you have safe drinking water to school district policies that require that children receive health education.  In the spirit of the holiday, we have decided to countdown to Thanksgiving by sharing two of the health policies that we are most thankful for each day.

Emily is Thankful for...

Section 4207 of the Affordable Care Act which amended the Fair Labor Standards Act. This amendment requires that breast feeding mothers get break time and a private place to breast feed during the day. All employers in the United States must follow this law. Breastfeeding has many benefits for babies.  It lowers the risk of ear infections, stomach viruses, respiratory infections, asthma, obesity, and diabetes. For the mother, breastfeeding lowers the risk of diabetes, some cancers, and depression. For many women who are low income and struggling financially, breastfeeding is a free way to provide nourishment for their babies. 

Heather is Thankful for...

States that Legalized Same-Sex Marriage.  Currently, fourteen states (CA, CT, DE, IA, ME, MD, MA, MN, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT and WA), the district of Columbia, eight counties in New Mexico,and eight Native American tribal jurisdictions have legalized gay marriage covering 38% of the US population.  Hawaii and Illinois also recently passed gay marriage which will officially begin on December 2, 2013 and June 1, 2014 respectively.  Although a greater number of states have banned same-sex marriage, I am also thankful for the fact that, according to a recent Gallup poll, more than 52% of the population supports gay marriage.  More importantly, more than 60% of the 18 to 34 group supports it which mean it is only a matter of time before the rest of the country legalizes it.

I am thankful for these state laws not only because I support equality in general, but also because some of the people I love the most are part of the LGBTQ community.  Even if you don’t share that with me, here’s why you should be thankful too.

     1.) States that allow gay marriage have lower divorce rates than states that don’t.  In fact, their divorce rates are a whopping 20% lower.  My home state of Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage has the lowest divorce rate.

     2.) Gay Marriage could boost the economy.  The Williams Institute estimates that Washington State will get a $88 million economic boost from wedding spending in the first three years after it legalized gay marriage.  There is also the economic benefit of allowing same-sex couples to get spousal health insurance benefits - same sex couples are much less likely to have health insurance than different sex couples. (The Economic Benefits of Same Sex Marriage)

   3.) Bans on Gay Marriage may increase STD’s by increasing homophobia and risky homosexual behaviors.  Feeling like you are a social outcast can take its toll on a person, so it isn’t surprising that same sex marriage bans increase the rate of syphilis (which is more common in men who have sex with men) and HIV.


  1. hello, I;m doing a project on raising awareness in my college. I wanted to ask you what source you got the third point from thank you

  2. Hi Dominique, if you click on the hyperlinks for syphilis and HIV then you will be directed to my sources. Thanks!