Not everyone has the same opportunities for good health. Place is a powerful dictator of health and well-being, with economic and social conditions affecting health outcomes in various ways. MDPH works to eliminate structural barriers, inequitable policies, and cultural norms that inhibit health and wellness. In this way, we can improve health for all, and reduce disparities in health. By creating opportunities for everyone to access high-quality education, enrichment programs, and employment, we can improve health outcomes for all.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted a charter recognizing health as a fundamental human right. The constitution states that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental human right, regardless of race, political belief, or economic status. Furthermore, many nation states have adopted this right into their constitutions, making it legally binding on them to provide quality health services and to address determinants of health. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been slow to acknowledge the sanctity of health.
The WHO’s definition of health represents a powerful clarion call for international action. Back in 1950, the average life expectancy of a man in the world was 48 years, while the same was true for women. Polio and diphtheria were rampant and were key contributors to low life expectancy. Since then, chronic diseases have evolved significantly. In mid-century, heart disease, cancer, and stroke ranked as the leading causes of death in the United States. Today, the world is a healthier place, and we can live longer.