What is Health Equity?

Everyone has a fair and just (or, equitable) chance to reach their best health.

illustration showing figures watching a baseball game

The images above illustrate that people are all equal in ability/value/potential, but the fence and the ground give them unequal opportunity. “Equality” provides them all with the same level of support, whereas “Equity” assures they all achieve the same outcome.

Why is Health Equity important?

To remove differences in people's’ health that are a result of barriers and unfair disadvantages due to race, ethnicity, language, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, income, education and more.

What is Health Care Equity?

Health Care Equity is measured by the access, the experience, and the outcomes of every patient who visits to UCSF.

  • Access: patients get the care they need and receive help with any obstacles they experience in getting it (travel, insurance, language issues, etc.)
  • Experience: patients receive care with which they are satisfied from staff and providers who listen to them, in an environment that is clean and welcoming
  • Outcomes: the results of the care patients receive (how well they feel, how well we take care of their problems)
What are Social Determinants of Health?

Social Determinants of Health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age that affect their health risks and outcomes.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Safe housing, transportation, and neighborhoods
  • Racism, discrimination, and violence
  • Education, job opportunities, and income
  • Access to nutritious foods and physical activity opportunities
  • Polluted air and water
  • Language and literacy skills
Where can I find more basic information about these topics?


No matter your job/role at UCSF, YOU MATTER and YOUR TEAM MATTERS and can make all the difference in Health Equity for all our patients and an inclusive environment for colleagues.

Let’s work TOGETHER respectfully and take the Pledge to promote Health Equity for us all!

Take the Pledge Resources


It is important to educate ourselves on how to deal with bias, how to be an ally, and how to be inclusive/supportive in the workplace to help do the very best for our patients. Even if your role does not have any direct interaction with patients, the work you do is still critical for patient care. Taking the pledge will support Health Equity as well as UCSF’s overall anti-racism efforts.

  1. Review basic concepts online
  2. Watch YouTube talk, TED talks or other presentations
  3. Listen to podcasts
  4. Read a book related to Health Equity, racism/anti-racism, etc.
  5. Participate in Town Hall/Webinar on Diversity, Equity, and inclusion (DEI)
  6. Participate in a group at home or work to discuss or learn more together
  7. Learn how to be an ally. Here's a good place to start.
  8. Leverage L&OD Resources to foster an inclusive work environment.


Be an advocate for Health Equity.

  1. Post on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) – use #UCSFPledge to connect with colleagues!
  2. Add the “Health Equity in Focus” Campaign link/logo to your e-mail signature
  3. Wear the “Health Equity in Focus” Badge or Pin and explain what it means to others
  4. Start a discussion group at work or with friends


Take concrete steps to advance health equity for all!

  1. Use Emotional Intelligence to Battle Prejudice at Work
  2. Learn how to support and advocate for marginalized communities
  3. Educate others (at work or with friends, etc.)
  4. Host journal/book club
  5. Donate to/join social action group that promotes equity/health equity (see some suggestions here)
  6. Support a business owned by women; Black, Indigenous or other People of Color and Latin X community; LGBTQ ownership, those who are disabled, and other groups experiencing unfair disadvantages
  7. Be an active ally! Learn how here.