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The Ellacuría Initiative has New Theme

September 18, 2017
By: Mike Allison, Ph.D.

We are proud to announce our next biennial theme: Health. The issue was selected after having been proposed by Peter C. Olden (Ph.D., MHA, Professor) of the Health Administration and Human Resources Department.

Health matters to everyone throughout their lives and throughout the world. Health is foundational to many other aspects of people’s lives because it greatly affects how people live, work, play, rest, socialize, eat, travel, and exist. When health suffers, so do many other aspects of living. Thus, health is important to everyone.

According to the WHO’s frequently cited definition (1946), health is “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Some writers also include emotional health and spiritual health. Health differs widely among populations, subpopulations, communities, and groups. Differences in health are due to four general factors, people’s 1) environments, 2) lifestyles, 3) genetics, and 4) health care. Environment is sometimes divided into physical environment (e.g., land, buildings, air) and social environment (e.g., peer groups, employment rates, schools); then there are five general factors that create differences in health. Injustice among these 4-5 factors creates unjust differences in health among populations, communities, and groups. Consider how groups who face unjust environments to live in, unjust influences on lifestyles, and unjust barriers to health care are likely to unjustly have worse health than other groups.

How can the pursuit of justice in society lead to more justice in health? What can be done to promote justice with respect to environments, lifestyles, genetics, and health care services in order to achieve health justice for all groups and populations? Educational methods could include seminars, workshops, service projects, guest lectures, blogs and columns, scholarship, readings, class discussions, assignments, and case studies. Justice for health fits with the University’s mission and values, and explaining them can further educate others about how justice can support health.

By involving multiple stakeholders and methods, Education for Justice seeks to help educate the University’s stakeholders about the theme of justice for health.

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