Are you healthy?  What would your answer be?  If it is “no,” do you believe you will receive adequate care?  Depending on who you are, that answer might very well be “no”—”no” because your skin is a certain colour, “no” because you are a member of the LBGTQ+ community, “no” because you are an immigrant, “no” because you are a woman—the list is longer than it should be.

Each year, Chapman University’s Engaging the World (ETW) program organizes a series of events surrounding a global issue. In the past, they have led conversations on environmental justice and the significance of race—this year, the topic of discussion is health equity. Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences have teamed up to produce this year’s Engaging the World discussion on health equity. The Leatherby Libraries has joined in this collaborative effort by providing a comprehensive bibliography and virtual exhibit providing sources on the topic of health equity.

Health inequity takes many forms as a diverse population experiences inadequate treatment, discrimination and racism, and lack of access to healthcare—people may feel invisible and their struggle ignored.  Health inequalities don’t just occur within the healthcare system—consider what it means to be healthy.  A poor education, inability to pay for or access food, discriminatory laws, war, natural disasters, and homelessness, among other obstacles, all have an adverse effect on a person’s health and have roots in inequity.

The Engaging the World: Health Equity Bibliography offers texts addressing numerous aspects of health equity.  Featuring an array of genres, topics include African-, Arab-, Asian-, and Latinx-American health; economics of the healthcare system in the United States and across the world; the LBGTQ+ community; COVID-19; the opioid epidemic; history of women’s health; various aspects of mental health (personal narratives and history); impact of religion on healthcare; climate change as it relates to global health including natural disasters; maltreatment, misdiagnosis, inadequate care—the list goes on.  Unfortunately, some topics are not as well covered in literature as others—further proving this conversation’s importance.

The texts selected for this bibliography were chosen while considering factors of diversity and currency to ensure many groups were represented and the material was up to date.  However, not all groups are represented in this bibliography.

Apart from reading, students, staff, faculty, and the public are welcome to hear Linda Villarosa speak about health inequities in the Black community and on her book Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, 7:00 P.M. at Musco Center for the Arts (tickets required for this event—students, alumnus, staff, and faculty get in for free with Chapman email).  Villarosa’s book was a Pulitzer finalist and opens discussions on how racism stemming back before the creation of the United States has manifested in Black bodies today, in addition to the sometimes imperceptible and harmful racial bias held by healthcare professionals and politicians. She, among other authors in the bibliography, notes how the body has its unique way of remembering the past. See the ETW website for the complete list of events.

The Engaging the World: Health Equity Bibliography can be viewed in three ways: the full text on Chapman University’s digital commons, a physical display on the first floor of Leatherby Libraries, which will be on display for the fall semester (2023), and a digital display (the digital display only features a selection of the bibliography, using texts with the permission of the respective publishers).  The QR codes for upcoming ETW events are located on the physical display, along with a printed version of the bibliography.


About the bibliography & display curator: Vesper North received an MA in English (’22) and an MFA in Creative Writing (’23) from Chapman University. While at Chapman, North aided in developing the Health Humanities minor and partnered with Leatherby Libraries to curate the Engaging the World: Health Equity bibliography. North is a contributor at the Los Angeles Review of Books, assistant editor at TAB Journal of Poetry & Poetics, and has been published in various journals, often dealing with health themes.

The Leatherby Libraries’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts align with the Chapman University Strategic Plan for Diversity & Inclusion, fostering a diverse and inclusive campus climate.