Housing as a determinant of health equity
Diana Hernández, PhD
Housing is a major pathway through which health disparities emerge and are sustained over time. In this presentation, we’ll offer a holistic conceptual model of the impact of housing on health disparities, including the range of harmful exposures, their cumulative burden and their historical production. We illustrate how structural inequalities shape unequal distribution of access to health-promoting housing factors, which span four pillars: 1) cost (housing affordability); 2) conditions (housing quality); 3) consistency (residential stability); and 4) context (neighborhood opportunity). We further discuss how these four pillars can lead to cumulative burden by interacting with one another and with other structurally-rooted inequalities to produce and reify health disparities. We conclude by offering a comprehensive vision for healthy housing that situates housing's impact on health through a historical and social justice lens, which can help to better design policies and interventions that use housing to promote health equity.
Diana Hernández, PhD is a tenured Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Hernández conducts research at the intersection of energy, equity, housing and health. A sociologist by training, her work focuses on the social and environmental determinants of health and examines the impacts of policy and place-based interventions on the health and well-being of socioeconomically disadvantaged populations.
Carolyn Swope is a Doctoral Student in Urban Planning at Columbia University, and also holds an MPH in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University. Broadly, her research interests focus on the relationship between housing and health disparities, with particular attention to historical housing policies producing present-day housing inequities. Currently Carolyn is working on her dissertation, which examines how gentrification’s connection to other forms of racialized dispossession informs its effects on health for Black residents in Southwest Washington, DC.
Read accompanying article: Housing as a determinant of health equity: A conceptual model