Campus: CSU Chico -- October 25, 2002

Worldwide Health Inequities Explored on CD-ROM from CSU Chico


A new CD-ROM that gathers thousands of pages of information about inequities in health among different groups in the United States and worldwide has just been released by California State University, Chico.

Mark Tomita, professor in the Department of Health and Community Services at CSU, Chico, headed the creation of the Global Health Disparities CD-ROM. It is being distributed for free to health educators who are members of the National Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) and other health educators working in California.

Tomita said health educators in Butte County and other areas have already commented about the usefulness of the CD-ROM. “People are overwhelmed by what’s on it and how much information is there,” Tomita said.

The term "health disparities" is often used by health educators to describe the unequal and unfair differences in health status that are the consequences of political, social and environmental pressures. CSU, Chico, with the cooperation of SOPHE, created the CD-ROM to raise awareness of the global nature of health disparities and build the capacity of the nation’s public health education workforce to meet the challenges of eliminating those disparities where they exist.

More than 700 primary sources on health disparities were collected from many countries and are included in the CD-ROM. “Even though all of this material is available to the public, it would take someone a very long time to find all of it on their own,” Tomita said. “Having it one place is very helpful to professionals in the field.”

The Global Health Disparities CD-ROM includes reports, government documents, professional journal articles and newsletters and other important information. The materials are categorized both by population groups most affected and by the methods that can be used to reduce the disparities.

While some health inequities may be fairly well known – such as higher infant mortality and diabetes rates among Native Americans than the general population – other health issues are not well known to professionals and educators, Tomita said. “Many public health educators have not received a lot of training, and also may not have the opportunity to keep track of new information,” he said.

Tomita, in his first year on the CSU, Chico faculty, is the Global Health Disparities CD-ROM project coordinator, and is co-chair of the SOPHE International and Cross-Cultural Health Special Interest Group. The project team from CSU, Chico were Professors Diana Flannery, Lyndall Ellingson and Steve Shive, Department of Health and Community Services, and Kevin Shanley, CSU, Chico Technology and Learning Program. Graphic and Web page design was done by CSU, Chico student Jerome Heuze.

Eight hundred copies of the CD-ROM will be distributed. Statewide health educators are receiving a copy by mail, and all those attending SOPHE’s Nov. 8 annual meeting in Philadelphia will receive one from CSU, Chico health and community services faculty members.

This project was funded by CSU, Chico’s College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and the Department of Health and Community Services.

For more information, contact Tomita, Department of Health and Community Services, CSU, Chico, Chico, CA 95929-0505, or contact Elaine M. Auld, executive director, Society for Public Health Education, 750 First St. N.E., Suite 910, Washington, DC 20002-4242.

Tomita is currently at work on another CD-ROM for health educators. The topic will be health issues related to the Mexico-U.S. border. Tomita said that CD-ROM should be released June 1.

CONTACT: Joe Wills, 530-898-4131


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