The Mel & Enid Zuckerman School of Public Health at the University of Arizona are hosting the 6th annual Social Justice Symposium on the Public Health Campus on Friday March 23, 2012 from 8:30-1:30 at Drachman Hall. Registration is required, but is open to all in the community. More info can be found here: http://www.publichealth.arizona.edu/students/student-organizations/sjs
This year’s topic is “Mind the gap: health disparities across the globe”. Despite many well meaning efforts, major disparities exist across the globe, often resulting in inequalities in both health services (access to care) and health outcomes (sickness or health).
Health concerns aren’t spread uniformly across the world. Some diseases are limited to specific countries, regions, or continents, while others are less preferential and seem to follow a less obvious pattern. Yet inequality is something that lies underneath many of these. An interesting place to explore this is: worldmapper.org . Here, you can navigate to the section on health concerns (map categories > disease) and see a whole list of diseases appear.
Click on a map that interests you. You’ll see that the world looks out of proportion. That’s because these maps are actually cartograms. Instead of representing the world by land area and geometric shape, countries are represented by their incidence/cases of a particular disease. You’ll notice for some of the diseases that some continents virtually disappear while others are quite prominent. It is a different but useful way to graphically represent how disease burden is spread across the globe. Underlying these patterns, of course, lie numerous questions of why that disease, and why there. They require us to think about both social and environmental factors. Ultimately, these maps are starting points, not ending points.
The social justice symposium in the School of Public Health will answer some of these questions, as well as provide a space for discussing how that gap can be decreased. If you’re interested, I highly recommend stopping by and engaging in this discussion!