Ethnicity & Disease Publication

Ethnicity & Disease Publication

Ethnicity & Disease: Potential of Strategic Partnerships to Form a Health Equity Network of the Americas (HENA)

Abstract: Health inequities across the Americas are avoidable and unjust yet continue to persist. Systemic social determinants of health, which could be addressed at the policy level, are root causes of many inequities and prevent marginalized individuals and at-risk populations from reaching optimal health and well-being. In this article, we describe our approach to promote health equity through the intersectoral partner­ships that were forged, and strategies that were shared, during the convening entitled “Summit 2017: Health Equity in the Americas” and the resulting emergence of the Health Equity Network of the Americas (HENA). We illustrate how this international network will raise awareness of policies and programs to inform decision makers about actions they can take to put an end to the unjust, persistent and mostly avoid­able health inequities facing the Americas today.

Potential of Strategic Partnerships to Form a Health Equity Network of the Americas (HENA)

[21 February 2019 – Los Angeles, CA.]

Recognizing the persistence of health inequities in the Americas, an emerging Health Equity Network of the Americas (HENA) describes its approach to promoting health equity through intersectoral partnerships in a newly released issue of Ethnicity & Disease. While health is a fundamental human right, health inequities persist across the Americas; they are systemic, avoidable and unjust, preventing individuals and communities from achieving their best health and developmental potential. The published article, The Transformative Potential of Strategic Partnerships to Form a Health Equity Network of the Americas, illustrates how HENA intends to address these health inequities by raising awareness of policies and programs to inform decision makers about
actions they can take to put an end to these health inequities.

Unique from other networks promoting policy and action, HENA is establishing strategic partnerships that reach across traditional boundaries to overcome and move beyond segregation by discipline or focus area. “We are working to reconnect structural silos,” says Michael A. Rodriguez, MD, MPH, founding director of HENA. “We are proud to serve as a catalyst to bring together HENA members coming from civil society, academia and government agencies representing 26 nations in the Americas.” According to the article, HENA will work through these intersectoral partnerships to advance health equity by:

  1. increasing knowledge of effective practices
  2. promoting adoption of effective policies and programs
  3. ensuring successful implementation of these policies and programs
  4. monitoring the progress
  5. and rewarding successes

HENA focuses its policy work on three areas aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and PAHO’s recommendations for improving health equity. HENA’s priority areas are gender equality, racial/ethnic, Indigenous and immigrant populations, and universal health care. Health equity experts, advocates and institutions from North, Central and South America are invited to join HENA to strengthen the Network’s impact in the region. Email HENA at

HENA: HENA comprises health equity experts from 26 countries that represent non-governmental organizations, civil society, academia and government agencies.HENA focuses its energy on research, policy, and advocacy work, sharing knowledge and promoting policythat encourage political, economic and social equality for men and women, particularly in regions of significant health inequity. HENA is partly funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is headquartered at the Department of Family Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Ethnicity & Disease: For this special issue of Ethnicity & Diseaseentitled, Strategic Partnerships to Advance Health Equity, George Mensah, MD, FACC, FAHAserved as guest editor. The issue is supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. Ethnicity & Diseaseis an international journal that publishes information on the causal and associative relationships in the etiology of common illnesses through the study of ethnic patterns of disease and the social determinants of health. Topics focus on ethnic differentials in disease rates; impact of migration on health status; social and ethnic factors related to health and health care access; and metabolic epidemiology. Visit Ethnicity & Disease online to learn more.