Promoting health equity: Insights and advice from Dr. Christine McClure

Dr. Christine McClure provides insights and advice on health equity.

University of Pittsburgh alumna Dr. Christine McClure has dedicated her career to improving the health and well-being of communities and has a specific interest in racial equity and reducing health disparities. Because of her work in health policy and management and exposure to a variety of projects, she considers herself a "jack of all trades and master of none."

When asked about the challenges facing public health today, Dr. McClure highlighted the impact of systemic racism and social determinants of health.

"We need to do better at acknowledging that structural racism is a public health crisis and how social determinants of health impact our communities," she notes, adding that there is a real need for public health professionals to work with communities to address these issues. "Community engagement is key. It's important to work with the community to find solutions that are tailored to their needs." Dr. McClure’s work is admirable, as it demonstrates her dedication to promoting health equity and ensuring that everyone has equal access to health care services.

"Data can be a powerful tool in identifying disparities and gaps in health care access and delivery," she continued, stressing the importance of collecting data that represents the communities being served. “We need to be intentional about who we're collecting data from and how we're collecting it.”

Building trust and relationships with community members are foundational of Dr. McClure’s approach to community engagement.

“We can't just parachute into a community, collect data, and leave,” she notes.. “We need to  work collaboratively to identify solutions." It’s important for public health professionals to remain humble, recognize that community members are the experts on their own lived experiences, and be willing to learn from them.

As a Black woman in higher education, Dr. McClure encourages young girls and women to listen to their instincts and take up space. She shares her personal experiences of self-doubt and not speaking up in meetings. However, with a friend’s encouragement, she began to use her voice and take up space. Dr. McClure urges young girls and women to give themselves permission to believe in themselves and to not let anyone dim their sparkle:

"If you have good ideas or you know you are smart, don't downplay yourself," she says.

-Carlena Hill