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Reflection Questions

  1. Describe a situation where you recognized an injustice. What did you do? What do you wish you had done?
  2. Activists around gun violence just staged a march blocking a major traffic street in your neighborhood and caused a traffic jam in which you are now stuck. How would you react? Why?
  3. Name one injustice in the world that you are passionate about. How would you approach finding a solution to the injustice? Why?

Discussion Questions

  1. McKnight observed: “The language of medicine is focused upon disease – yet the problems we identified have very little to do with disease. … hospitals were dealing with many problems which were not ‘diseases’. It was an important step in conscientization to recognize that modern medical systems are usually dealing with maladies – social problems – rather than disease. Maladies and social problems are the domains of citizens and their community organizations.” Does this observation resonate with how you see the health care system today?
  2. What are the key characteristics of the “violence interrupters” in the CeaseFire program?
  3. Ansell et al’s description of the community effort to reduce the black/white breast cancer mortality gap in Chicago features three very powerful images: a line graph, a bar chart, and a map. Consider how each of these images contributes to the article, and how they each tell a different part of the story of racism as a driver of health inequities.
  4. Bushey and Schorsch, in “The Rumble and the Reversal”, detail the fight for an adult trauma center at the University of Chicago. It is a fascinating and inspiring account which brings together the voices of community and researchers to achieve social change. As you consider the experiences detailed in the chapter, do you feel optimism that change can occur? Or pessimism – perhaps out of dismay that things haven’t changed enough?
  5. Healthy Chicago 2.0 set out an ambitious set of equity-focused targets. And it brought important issues into the fold, issues that traditionally have not been part of city public health department planning, such as “discrimination from criminal justice system”. Consider the targets and their associated metrics – as a whole, is this what the city should be aiming for? If we could achieve these targets, would Chicago be a better place?

Solution Finding

  1. You are a community organizer concerned about a particular health inequity. What kind of data/research or narratives would you need to support your call for addressing the health inequity? Where would you get this evidence?

Further Readings

Hackbarth, D. P., Schnopp-Wyatt, D., Katz, D., Williams, J., Silvestri, B., & Pfleger, M. (2001). Collaborative research and action to control the geographic placement of outdoor advertising of alcohol and tobacco products in Chicago. Public Health Rep, 116(6), 558-567.

Peek, M. E., et al. (2012). Early lessons from an initiative on Chicago’s South Side to reduce disparities in diabetes care and outcomes. Health Aff (Millwood), 31(1), 177-186.


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