Social Justice and Public Health -- Where They Intersect

When people of all societal backgrounds are treated equally, the world becomes a better place. Unfortunately, injustices happen everyday that directly relate to societal factors, especially when it comes to public health. In order to help blur the line between society and healthcare, the population as a whole must first understand social justice, public health, and how the two intersect.

What is Social Justice? 

Social justice refers to the equal rights and opportunities of members of society, particularly those members who are at a disadvantage due to societal factors beyond their control. Much like human development, social justice helps bring equality to all populations regardless of economic status.

When disadvantaged members of society are unable to access basic civil liberties and human rights due to welfare, race, gender, social class, or any other factor, it creates an injustice within society. Social justice brings these inequities and prejudices to light by essentially making society an equal opportunity provider.

One of the leading social injustices from one population to the next is access to healthcare or lack thereof. Whether it’s due to socioeconomic circumstances like poverty or income status, disadvantaged members of society simply don’t have access to healthcare, which only worsens social injustice.

What is Public Health? 

Public health describes the promotion of well-being and healthy lifestyles as well as disease prevention and awareness through public health education. These education programs are geared toward lower-income societies where poverty and other disadvantages prevent access to healthcare information.

Just as social justice promotes equal opportunity within society, so does public health in terms of access to healthcare. When disadvantaged members of society are able to identify health problems and prevent future health pitfalls, entire societies are able to improve their lifestyles for the better.

The Coexistence of Social Justice and Public Health  

Because social justice and public health are so closely related, it’s almost imperative that the two not only coexist, but also improve one another. Although this seems inherent, the problem with coexistence comes in the form of universal healthcare and what it means to society as a whole.

Universal healthcare is the key to public health, but many members of society think that bearing the financial responsibility of healthcare for the less fortunate is socially unjust in itself. That’s where education in both healthcare and social work come into play.

When all levels of society are well-informed on public health, healthy lifestyles, and how societal differences change the health of societies from one population to the next, coexistence becomes possible. The education of individuals on a collegiate level as well as society in general makes the coexistence of public health and social justice possible as well.

Adapting to the Equality Mindset 

Society as a whole can’t pretend to know what the disadvantaged public is going through. That said, when primary healthcare and health education is available for all, the social justice playing field becomes that much closer to level.

Education on both the public health and social justice front helps bridge the equality gap, which betters the world and its populations. By seeking a Masters of Social Work online from the University of New England, students can seek a better understanding of social justice and public health and work to better the world they live in.


Learn more about our program with a free brochure!