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Department of Health Highlights Social Determinants of Health at 2019 Health Equity Summit

Philadelphia, PA – Department of Health officials today met with health professionals and other key leaders at the 2019 Health Equity Summit held at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia to talk about new ideas and practices that will help improve the overall health of Pennsylvanians.

“Health equity is the foundation of good public health,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “The opportunity to live a healthy life is a fundamental human right, which is why it is essential that we work to help everyone achieve their healthiest lives. The Health Equity Summit gives us a platform to identify health disparities and discuss solutions that will improve the health of Pennsylvania.”

Health equity means that every individual can live healthy no matter their race, location, education or income level. A lack of health equity leads to health disparities, which happen when some communities have better health outcomes than others. According to the department’s 2019 State of Health Equity in Pennsylvania report, there are significant health disparities in Pennsylvania due to food insecurity, barriers to health care access, pre-existing health conditions, sexuality and race.

Those who attended the summit learned how the conditions where people are born, grow, live, work and age impact a person’s health as well as the population’s health. Attendees also reviewed the solutions in place used to decrease health inequalities in both rural and urban areas and worked to outline steps organizations, communities and individuals can take to increase health and eliminate health disparities.  

The Office of Health Equity within the Department of Health works to increase the public’s awareness of health disparities in the state. The office works with policy makers, insurers, health care providers and communities to implement policies and programs that will increase the health of all Pennsylvanians.

Additional information about health equity and social determinants of health can be found on the Department of Health’s website at or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Nate Wardle, 717-787-1783 or

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