Exploring the Link Between Social Justice, Public Health and Knowledge Management at APHA

K4Health Highlights

Elizabeth Tully

CCP | Program Officer
Health practitioners from around the world have come to Denver, Colorado, for the 138th annual meeting and exposition of the American Public Health Association to discuss why certain populations experience a disproportionate burden of disease and mortality and what the public health community must do to better address the causes of these inequities.
To explore the link between social justice and public health and to expand the dialogue, K4Health was accepted to present our poster, titled “Using information technology to organize and provide access to information for health professionals in less developed countries,” at the Sunday afternoon poster session. The poster focuses on K4Health’s eToolkit Application, which allows communities of practice separated by space and time to come together to build collections of carefully selected information resources for health policy makers, program managers, and service providers.
The session brought in a constant flow of participants which kept the team busy answering questions about how our application works, who is involved in its development, and which organizations and countries are working to build global and country-level eToolkits.
Not surprisingly, we also fielded questions about how health practitioners in low- and middle-income countries could access the eToolkits when Internet connectivity is unreliable or nonexistent. These inquiries allowed us to discuss and distribute our offline version of the eToolkits that are on flash drives as well as inform our visitors about our work in Malawi and the district learning centers that provide computers and access to the Internet to community health workers and others in the country.

Of the participants who visited our poster, most were interested in the concept of country-specific eToolkits. For instance, a woman from a Caribbean-based NGO that focuses on maternal and child health was curious to know if K4Health had worked with any organizations in Caribbean countries to build eToolkits. We were able to discuss K4Health’s Haiti Relief Toolkit, which was developed rapidly after the devastating earthquake to provide aid workers with the essential disaster relief resources in one place, and some of our Malawi-specific eToolkits.
The social circumstances in which people are born, live, and work, play a greater role in longevity and overall health in the U.S. and abroad. Hopefully, through knowledge management, we can link social justice to public health in our small way to make for a more equitable world where health information is accessible to those who need it the most.
The K4Health Blog (www.k4health.org/blog) will be providing live coverage of APHA's annual meeting and related activities throughout the week, so stay tuned. You can also follow the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #APHA10.
Elizabeth Frazee, Program Specialist