Organizational definitions and framework
The Center for Science in the Public Interest is your food and health watchdog. CSPI envisions a healthy population with reduced impact and burden of preventable diseases and an equitable food system that makes healthy, sustainable food accessible to all. We value independence, scientific rigor, and transparency.
CSPI centers racial equity and justice in our work to advance health equity. We seek to approach our work from a racial equity and justice framework because all health disparities (see definitions) were created and are maintained by racialized policies and practices that perpetuate anti-Blackness and the effects of colonialism. Our framework seeks to center those most burdened by racialized systems of oppression because we recognize a shift away from paternalistic, top-down approaches is needed to create meaningful social change. Furthermore, a racial equity and justice framework equips us with an intersectional lens that is applicable to all socially stratifying identities and enables us to pursue a broad portfolio of work to address health disparities. As an organization, we adopt the following definitions of equity and justice:
Health Disparity: Preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health between socially disadvantaged populations and those with more social privilege. Health disparities are unjust and are directly associated with the historical and current unequal distribution of social, political, economic, and environmental resources. (Adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Health Equity: Everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires removing upstream obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care. Health equity is the absence of unjust and avoidable health inequities among groups of people, including those are grouped according to demographic, economic, geographic, social, and other measures of inequality (disability, gender, sex, or sexual orientation). (Adapted from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and World Health Organization)
Racial Equity: Racial equity is both an outcome and a process. As an outcome, it is achieved when race no longer affects one’s social position. As a process, it is applied when those most impacted by structural racial inequities are meaningfully involved in the creation and implementation of the institutional policies and practices that impact their lives. (Adapted from Race Forward)
Racial Justice: A vision and transformation of society to eliminate racial hierarchies and advance collective liberation, where Black, Indigenous, Latine, Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander people, in particular, have the dignity, resources, power, and self-determination to fully thrive. (Adapted from Race Forward)
As such, health equity is the process of addressing health disparities to promote racial equity with the ultimate goal of achieving racial justice.
Vision for health equity, racial equity, and racial justice
CSPI is committed to advancing health equity, racial equity, and racial justice by transforming systems such as racism, classism, and all other forms of oppression. We seek to identify, name, and meaningfully examine root causes of disparities and advocate for community- and science-informed solutions. In particular, we are dedicated to creating a more just food system by ensuring equitable access to safe, affordable, sustainable, ethically produced, culturally relevant, nourishing food. We aspire to be guided by those most impacted by the issues we seek to address including those with Black and/or Indigenous racial identities, people living in rural communities, people with disabilities, and other groups with socially stratifying identities.