Helen Rodriguez-Trias, M.D., APHA President, 1993

Social Justice at Home and Abroad

When Joyce Lashof was APHA president in 1992, she developed Americas Public Health Report Card. This brilliant report enabled public health workers and the public to look at the social and economic determinants of health. She did many interviews with the media to disseminate this information all over the country.

This work needs to be continued. I know that many of you are working on the scientific basis of this, looking at the effects of poverty and other inequities on health. But how do we make the political connections? How do we translate this knowledge and this understanding of these correlations into action that is going to move us toward a more equitable society?

I am pleased that I no longer hear questions that I heard some years ago at APHA: What is this association about? Why are we having resolutions on child poverty? Why are we having resolutions on immigrants? Why are we having resolutions concerning many marginalized populations? Some people said that we should really be talking about the science of public health. I don’t hear that dichotomy any more. I think we have become a very united organization that is very secure in the belief that resolving social and economic inequities is necessary in promoting the health of the public. I am very proud that I have seen that transition. How do we implement it? How do we make it happen in the political arena? These are good questions for all of us.

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