Strategies to Advance Health Equity: How Health Departments Can Promote Living Wages


The social determinants of health, or the structures and economic systems that shape patterns of wellness and illness, can be considered “upstream” causes of health that then influence downstream factors like obesity and teen pregnancy. Upstream factors are broad, deeply entrenched in our society, and can appear daunting to change. While public health often focuses on individual-level health behaviors, this approach requires a high level of effort from the targeted individual and has little influence on widespread population health. Health departments are increasingly moving upstream to tackle the core issues that affect the communities they serve. Income is one upstream factor that has a large impact on health and well-being. This training details how raising the minimum wage is a public health issue and provides a case study of one health department that used research, communication, and advocacy to influence an upstream factor of health.

By the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • Explain the rationale for expanding public health practice to change living conditions to promote health and equity;
  • Consider action on living conditions to be part of their scope of work;
  • Identify some of the conceptual and organizational obstacles state and local health departments face in addressing living conditions;
  • Explain how to apply the “upstream” strategies to define and achieve feasible goals in their own practice.

Continuing Education Available: 1.0 CHES, 1.0 CPH

Council on Linkages Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals (2014 Version)

1A9, 1B1, 1B14, 1B15, 2B6, 2B8, 3B8, 3B5, 4B6, 5B1, 5B3, 5B10, 6B7, 6C2, 8B2, 8B3, 8B5

Click on the appropriate button to begin.I do not work for a State or Local Health Department in NYS.

I do work for a State or a Local Health Department in NYS.

If you are employed by NYS or a local health department in NYS, we recommend that you register for this course through the NYS Department of Health Learning Management System (DOH LMS).