What is health equity?

Health equity means that everyone, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to live to their full health potential. This means that race, class, gender, or other social circumstances should not systematically make it more difficult to attain good health.

What is the connection between health equity and voting?

Voting is one of the main ways that citizens can affect policies and laws that govern access to essential resources like high-quality nutrition, education, housing, and health care. Young adults who vote and who are civically engaged have better mental health, achieve higher levels of education, and attain higher incomes. States with a higher voter turnout have better access to healthcare. Conversely, socioeconomic inequality and poor voter turnout are associated with poorer self-reported health. Voting helps disadvantaged groups use their power to achieve more equitable access to the resources and opportunities that drive good health.

Why is it important for pediatricians to speak up about the importance of health equity as part of their Get Out the Vote efforts?

Children, particularly those from historically under-resourced communities, suffer when existing laws and policies endanger their access to vital resources and opportunities that shape their health. Because children cannot vote and have no direct voice in our political system, pediatricians need to lend them our voices. We can educate communities about the importance of electing lawmakers who will champion the health of all children, especially children who experience vulnerabilities such as living in poverty, being exposed to racism, and having a disability, among other factors. By taking concrete action, pediatricians can help mobilize peers, patients, and parents to vote because the health of all children depends on us.