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Tufts Public Health » Disparities

Vulnerable Populations in Public Health

October is Vulnerable Populations month in the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Year of Climate Change and Health. The month focuses on those populations that are disproportionately affected by climate change health effects and are less climate-resilient. While APHA focuses on children, other vulnerable populations include the elderly, minority communities, and economically disadvantaged communities. Minority communities and those of low-income are particularly vulnerable to flooding, food insecurities, and damage to infrastructure from natural disasters that can lead to increased displacement, cardiovascular complications, stress, and malnutrition. These populations are made more vulnerable to these conditions due to structural racism which has resulted in inadequately climate-resilient infrastructure and established health disparities. Language barriers also continue to increase vulnerability of communities whose first language is not English. The increased risk of these communities has … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disparities, Environment

Supporting refugees: A public health perspective

“Some bullets came to my house and went through the window,” said Murhaf, who fled Syria with his family two years ago and came to the United States, in an interview with Kaiser Health News (KHN). “I was afraid for the safety of my kids. They never sleep.” Murfah and his family fled their homeland to escape war. Other people have struggled in similar situations over time, and the international community has gathered before to discuss the needs and rights of people oppressed in their homeland. Following widespread displacement of populations during the First and Second World War, the United Nations held a conference in Geneva. This 1951 Convention defines a refugee as someone who, due to “well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disparities, Immigration, Mental Health, Refugees, Violence

Disability and health disparities: The evolving role of public health

Historically, the role of public health has focused on prevention of disabilities. For example, the Centers for Disease Control promotes the use of folic acid in pregnant women and those who are trying to become pregnant to reduce the risks associated with the underdevelopment of a fetus’s brain and spinal cord. It also urges people to protect themselves and their families from traumatic brain injury through the use of helmets during sports and seatbelts in cars. Despite these efforts, as an article in Public Health Reports points out, people still are born with or develop disabilities. Therefore, it is important for public health professionals to focus on the needs and well-being of people living with disabilities, and to make research efforts and interventions accessible to this population. Definitions of “disability” vary widely … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disabilities, Disparities, Prevention