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Stories | 05.18.20

Highlighting the Importance of Socially Just Public Policy

While the pandemic impacts us all globally, it leaves an even deeper a mark on vulnerable populations and essential workers. Through two webinars, Adler University Chicago Campus professors, Joseph E. Troiani, Ph.D., Founding Director of Military Psychology at Adler University, and Valerie Werner, Ph.D., Program Director of the Public Policy and Administration department in Chicago, offer insight on how public policy affects citizens and communities—especially during a global health crisis. They also share tips for advocating to promote community health and social justice.

Social Justice Impacts

Troiani unpacks global factors that have made pandemics like COVID-19 increasingly likely—such as population growth, climate change, and increased proximity to animals. He also looks at how and why those who are systemically oppressed or living in poverty often have the worst outcomes during viral outbreaks.

Access to healthcare, health insurance, nutritious foods, childcare, and enough residential space for social distancing plays a large role in health outcomes during this pandemic and other health crises. This leaves populations like people who are incarcerated, homeless, living in nursing homes, or those who are working on the front lines at a huge disadvantage when it comes to keeping themselves and their loved ones safe. Troiani speaks to the importance of cultural sensitivity and having flexible solutions at the ready for our most vulnerable populations. Watch webinar.

Public Policy Impacts

Werner discusses the importance of playing a role in local government if we want to create socially just policy change in our country and our communities. Despite the fact that Black Chicagoans make up 30 percent of the city population, they make up a disproportionate 72 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Chicago due to economic disparities. In her webinar, Werner offers detailed insight into how we can create a more equitable city and country to reduce and prevent these health inequities.

Werner describes how factors like food deserts, poor environmental quality, stress, and oppression impact health outcomes. She also explores how these outcomes are compounded by inequitable access to medications and health insurance. Watch webinar.

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