Advancing Health Equity in Spartanburg
The Mary Black Foundation believes that health and wellness are basic human rights.
In 2018, the Foundation adopted a health equity statement:
Health equity exists when all people have access to opportunities to thrive, both physically and mentally, and no one is limited in achieving health and wellness because of their race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, ability, sexual orientation, age, income, or zip code.
However, we quickly realized that having a statement was not sufficient enough. We needed a framework to guide our work. In 2020, the Foundation’s Program Directors, Keisha Gray and Natalia Valenzuela Swanson sat down to research and create a framework that would guide us in achieving our mission to invest in people and communities for improved health, wellness, and success in Spartanburg County.
The World Health Organization states that many factors combine to affect the health of individuals and communities. Whether people are healthy or not, is determined by their circumstances and environment. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, only 30% of people’s health is impacted by their personal behavior. The remaining 70% stems from social and economic factors, physical environment, and clinical care.
Social Determinants of Health
The Social Determinants of Health model serves as the foundational research for Mary Black Foundation’s Health Equity Framework. We recognize that individuals’ ability to access opportunities is shaped by their social and community context. Inequities in access are often the result of centuries of unjust policies and structural discrimination.
To advance health equity, Spartanburg will need to ensure it has: (1) high quality education & employment, (2) safe & supportive neighborhoods, and (3) accessible, affordable, & culturally relevant health care.
Framework in Action
While no one organization can achieve health equity alone, the Mary Black Foundation uses its resources- grants and impact investments, advocacy, capacity building, technical assistance, convening, and strategic alliances- to advance health equity. Below are examples of how the Mary Black Foundation is working to achieve health equity.
Achieving Health Equity in Our Community
Throughout 2022, we will be highlighting examples of how our community is working to achieve health equity. We encourage you to follow along each month as we showcase examples of how partners throughout Spartanburg County are doing work in the different categories and sub-categories of our health equity framework.
The first blog in this series will focus on the Parks & Open Spaces sub-category in the Safe & Supportive Neighborhoods bucket. We will highlight the work of the City of Spartanburg and many other partners who came together in the mid-2000’s to renovate the CC Woodson Community Center and the impact it has had since.