Our Work

Health Equity Network of the Americas (HENA)

HENA is a network of innovators, policy makers, researchers, and civil society advocates work to create a blueprint for the future of health equity and equality in the Americas.

Health Equity

Health equity and the policies that affect health equity are important topics of our time. Whole populations continue to be at risk of poor health and well-being. Yet, advancements in health care and a changing health industry frame health care delivery with promises of improved health care for most populations. Equitable and fair policies governing the social determinants of health and health care delivery can ensure that all populations benefit.

We do not underestimate the work that communities, organizers, advocates and leaders must do to make this a reality. Our goal is to create a forum for ideas and nurture those ideas into policies – policies that will ensure better health for all individuals in our collective society; health supported by the policies that ensure health is a human right.

Social Determinants of Health (SDOH)

The SDOH are defined by the World Health Organization as the conditions in and under which people are born, grow, work, and live, and the broader set of forces and systems that shape the conditions of daily life. Political, social, and economic policies systems and institutions determine one’s ability to approach health and wellness in daily life. The SDOH work on an individual and social level: housing, employment, working conditions, race, gender, etc. The foundation of HENA’s work is built on these key drivers in the communities and populations we serve.

Our Priority Policy Areas

The SDOHs and other factors create a vast landscape within which HENA works. Thus, for 2019, HENA membership has prioritized two policy areas:
1) Gender equality; 2) Racial/ethnic and indigenous and immigrant populations.

We incorporate many other cross-cutting themes in the translation of innovative policy, research and programming: from migration, to health care delivery and disease prevention, to affordable housing, and much more.

Sustainable Development Goals

“We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet” (UN General Assembly, 2015). The United Nations declaration on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the 2030 Agenda outlines 17 goals as a global priority-setting process to transform health and development for every individual. Many of the goals address underlying determinants of health, including sanitation, housing, reproductive rights, and access to food and water. HENA’s work remains aligned with many of the SDGs, including: no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender eqaultiy, work and economic growth, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities/communities, peace/justice and strong institutions, and partnerships for the goals.