Abstract

This paper presents a “Cliff Analogy” illustrating three dimensions of health intervention to help people who are falling off of the cliff of good health: providing health services, addressing the social determinants of health, and addressing the social determinants of equity. In the terms of the analogy, health services include an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, a net or trampoline halfway down, and a fence at the top of the cliff. Addressing the social determinants of health involves the deliberate movement of the population away from the edge of the cliff. Addressing the social determinants of equity acknowledges that the cliff is three-dimensional and involves interventions on the structures, policies, practices, norms, and values that differentially distribute resources and risks along the cliff face. The authors affirm that we need to address both the social determinants of health, including poverty, and the social determinants of equity, including racism, if we are to improve health outcomes and eliminate health disparities.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-6869
Print ISSN
1049-2089
Pages
pp. 1-12
Launched on MUSE
2009-11-12
Open Access
No
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