Emerging Equity Language: JEDI-B and SDOH

March 28, 2023

Two terms, and their definition, have been updated recently that align with our health equity framework including Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (JEDI-B) and Social Drivers of Health (SDOH).

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, differences between some definitions of health equity, and related key terminology, can reflect a lack of clarity that can create barriers to effective engagement and action towards achieving our shared vision of health equity for all. Consensus around terminology and understanding can help bridge divides and foster productive dialogue among diverse stakeholder groups.

Organizations that created common descriptions and explanations of their health equity work found that it helped staff integrate the organization’s intent and focus. A common language gives us a shared framework and understanding that staff can use for their explorations of health equity in their individual roles and for the organization to communicate internally and externally about its intent, purpose, role, and work to achieve health equity. 

In recent years, the “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” framework has evolved to add “Justice” and “Belonging” as important pillars. This change is reflective of transformation that goes beyond only focusing on representation and fairness to consider psychological environment and root causes of inequity. Learn more here.

When addressing policies, systems, and structures that fuel racial inequities in areas that influence a person’s health - such as access to housing, healthy food, and transportation - “social drivers of health” is more accurate and accessible than “determinants”. Recent research also suggests that “drivers” is a term that communities prefer. Learn more here. 

Organizations will still use “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion" or "DEI” and “Social Determinants of Health” as they choose terminology that best describes their frameworks. While the Iowa PCA will strive for the consistent use of Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (JEDI-B), and Social Drivers of Health (SDOH), we encourage consideration of the variation in the use of these terms as a practice in inclusive language principles, illustrating that language is everchanging and that the words we use to communicate greatly influence how we understand and work with others.