engaging the world

Health Equity remains a major issue in Southern California Chapman University Continues Leading the Dialogue on Critical Health Equity Issues

As health equity continues to be a pressing concern in Southern California, Chapman University’s Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences are teaming up to initiate discussions and awareness around this vital topic.

Unveiling Inequalities in Access to Health and Healthcare

The 2023-24 Engaging the World series will provide a platform for students, faculty, and guests to explore the complex web of disparities that stand in the way of equitable access to health and healthcare. These disparities, rooted in historical, cultural, social, and economic factors, affect people of all backgrounds, regardless of their race, gender or socioeconomic status. The series aims to ignite conversations about what it takes to ensure that everyone can achieve their highest level of health, free from discrimination and inequity.

Chapman University is at the forefront of introducing attendees to the burgeoning field of “Health Humanities.” Health Humanities is an interdisciplinary field of study that uses approaches from the arts, humanities, and social sciences to examine concepts and issues of health, wellbeing, illness and disability. It does so in relation to diverse histories, cultures, perspectives and communities, both within and beyond the United States. At Chapman University’s Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, health care is not just something learned in classrooms. The college provides low-cost counseling services to over 200 clients each term, who have been referred by local hospitals, clinics, schools, churches and other local organizations, offering both in-person and telehealth services to Orange County and neighboring Southern California communities providing invaluable training opportunities to students while addressing a critical community need. 

Addressing Timely Post-Pandemic Insights

The series arrives at a critical juncture in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, where the importance of equitable healthcare access had become increasingly evident. Stephanie Takaragawa, associate dean of Wilkinson College shared, “In the wake of the pandemic, the complexities of who has access to medical treatment was more apparent than ever. We want to look at why there are so many disparities based on things like gender, race, trans identities and socioeconomic status.” 

Cultural Perspectives on Healthcare

A noteworthy element of this series is the exploration of how diverse cultural histories influence healthcare perspectives. Investigating the factors behind the trust or mistrust of healthcare practices, including vaccine hesitancy. “For example, why people trust or don’t trust vaccines,” says Takaragawa, Ph.D. “The kinds of things that have happened to different populations in the United States could impact whether or not people want to trust health care and the government.”

Educating Future Healthcare Leaders

Janine Hill, dean of Crean College shared, “I believe that supporting discussions on the historical, cultural, social and economic disparities that interfere with access to health and health care is vital for our students to understand as future healthcare providers. Increasing opportunities for everyone to live the healthiest life possible, no matter who they are, is a core value we wish to instill in our students.”

Comprehensive Event Lineup

The series launches this fall with keynote speaker Linda Villarosa set to visit Chapman University on Sept. 28. Villarosa is the author of “Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on Health in America”, which tells the story of racial health disparities in the U.S., revealing the toll racism takes on individuals and the nation’s health.

A stunning exposé of why Black people in our society ‘live sicker and die quicker’—an eye-opening game changer.”—Oprah Daily

View the entire schedule for Engaging the World: Leading the Conversation on Health Equity. 


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Carly Murphy

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