Fairbanks Public Health Nursing discusses health equity during National Public Health Week
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - This week is National Public Health Week, and among the various topics and themes on the radar for Fairbanks Public Health professionals is health equity.
According to Shelly Foint-Anderson, Nurse Manager for the Fairbanks Public Health Center, over the last two years Public Health has been hard at work during the COVID-19 pandemic, from contact tracing, to testing, to providing vaccinations against the virus. Foint-Anderson explained, “Even though there’s been challenges over the last couple of years, I think one of the most positive outcomes of the last few years is how this community came together. How resilient everybody was. The partnerships that we have built, especially here at public health nursing, working with our community partners, with Foundation Health, with Tanana Chiefs, with the city, with the borough, those are just to name a few. I mean, we had a plethora of community partners and how that community work binding together really just impacted the community as a whole.”
During the course of the pandemic, one topic discussed amongst healthcare circles is health equity. Health equity is a term which means anyone and everyone has equal access to resources, services, and support in healthcare, regardless of background.
Katie Garrity, Program Coordinator for Fairbanks Public Health Center elaborated, “Factors that support improving health access, which is what health equity focuses on, includes access to healthy food, quality health care, transportation, housing and economic stability. The community where we live, and where we work, and where we play has a significant impact on our personal health.”
According to Garrity, there are ways to increase health equity in a community. Garrity remarked, “Simple things I think about in our Fairbanks community are different projects that have been going on with, you look at community gardens in the area. You look at that providing local healthy foods, fresh foods and help bring community together. You think about the free events in the area. They encourage people being outdoors or getting exercise and bringing communities again gather helps to promote health equity.” Garrity continued, “Different communities across Alaska look different and what their strengths and their needs are when it comes to increasing health. Which is part of what health equity is. And so part of the focus on healthy and equitable communities team I work with is to help different communities improve conditions that support health and wellbeing, especially for community members who face significant barriers to health. So and public health nursing is part of this team as well to help bring this access access to the community partnership.”
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