Key Definitions « The City of Lakewood, Ohio -
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Key Definitions

CHRONIC DISEASE: Conditions that keep coming back, or persistent conditions, that are the nation’s leading causes of death and disability (i.e., high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, heart problems, and mental illness). Most of the time, these conditions could have been prevented. They can lead to lifelong disability. They negatively impact an individual’s quality of life, and they lead to high health care costs.

CULTURE: An integrated pattern of learned core values, beliefs, norms, behaviors and customs that are shared and transmitted by a specific group of people. Some aspects of culture, such as food, clothing, modes of production and behaviors, are visible. Major aspects of culture, such as values, gender role definitions, health beliefs and worldview, are not visible.

DIVERSITY: The visible and invisible mixture of differences and similarities between people that frame how we see the world and interact with others.

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS: Conditions that impact the health of people and communities. The amount of money, power, and resources that people have in their daily lives shapes these conditions. Examples include access to healthy food, as well as safe places to play and exercise; levels of stress; financial instability; insufficient or lack of employment; lack of quality education; unstable housing; and substandard health care.

EQUALITY: The quality or state of being equal and refers to the identical distribution of resources, decision making and outcomes regardless of level of need.

EQUITY: Providing all people with fair opportunities to achieve their full potential.

EQUITY LENS: The lens through which you view conditions and circumstances to assess who experiences benefits and burdens as the result of a program, policy, or practice.

HEALTH:  A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

HEALTH DISPARITY: Differences in health status among distinct segments of the population including differences that occur by gender, race or ethnicity, education or income, disability, or living in various geographic localities.

HEALTH OUTCOMES: A change in the health of an individual, group, or population which is attributable to a planned intervention or series of interventions, regardless of whether such an intervention was intended to change health status.

INCLUSION: Active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity, including intentional policies and practices that promote full participation and sense of belonging among all members of a group or organization.

INEQUITY: Differences in well-being between and within communities that are systematic, patterned, unfair, and can be changed. They are not random, as they are caused by our past and current decisions, systems of power and privilege, policies and the implementation of those policies.

PEOPLE OF COLOR: Refers to groups of African Americans, Asian & Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and Hispanics.

POPULATION HEALTH: Population health is the distribution of health outcomes across a geographically-defined group which result from the interaction between individual biology and behaviors; the social, familial, cultural, economic and physical environments that support or hinder wellbeing; and the effectiveness of the public health and healthcare systems. 

PREVENTION:  A systematic process that promotes healthy behaviors and reduces the likelihood or frequency of an incident, condition, or illness. Ideally, prevention addresses health problems before they occur, rather than after people have shown signs of disease or injury.

PUBLIC HEALTH: Public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play. Public health deals with health from the perspective of populations, not individuals.

QUALITY OF LIFE: An individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns. It is a broad ranging concept affected in a complex way by the person’s physical health, psychological state, and level of independence, social relationships, personal beliefs, and their relationship to important features of their environment.

SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH: the circumstances, in which people are born, grow up, live, work, and age. These circumstances are, in turn, shaped by a wider set of forces: economics, social policies, and politics.

SOCIOECONOMIC: Relating to, or concerned with, the interaction of social and economic factors.

WELLNESS: Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. It is a dynamic process of change and growth.


Sources for Definitions:

CommonHealth ACTION:

Policy Link:

D5 Coalition:

Regional Equity Atlas:

World Health Organization:

Health Improvement Partnership Cuyahoga:

Health Policy Institute of Ohio:

UC Davis

National Wellness institute