Engaging Head and Heart: Using Restorative Justice Practices to Introduce Structural/Social Determinants of Health

Date of Review: April, 2023

This resource introduces learners to the concepts of health equity and social determinants of health, and to historical/structural factors underlying health disparities in the U.S. It incorporates publicly available videos, opinion pieces, and feature-length news articles to introduce these concepts, including a lecture from Camara Jones (APHA President) and an article on urban redlining practices as a root cause of inequities. Students are asked to complete these readings/videos prior to 2 separate facilitated small-group discussion sessions that use Restorative Justice practices to promote/foster discussion (e.g. use of a Talking Piece to promote uninterrupted discussions, and a focus on all attendees being physically, mentally, and emotionally present). Lists of assigned materials, discussion questions , facilitator guides, and student assessment surveys are included in the resource. Strengths include the high quality of the assigned readings/videos, the broad applicability of the material to many learner groups, and the relative ease of implementation (assuming educators can recruit sufficient numbers of small-group facilitators). Limitations include the lack of high-quality learner assessment data. Also, the resource’s relatively introductory material may be of limited value to learners with expertise in these topics, and the small group sessions require facilitators/learners to be comfortable with Restorative Justice practices. Overall, however, the accessibility and quality of the assigned materials make this resource potentially valuable to many learner groups. -Dave Liss, PhD, NCEAS

Corresponding Author’s Email:



Albany Medical College

Where was the Curriculum Implemented:

Albany, NY

Outcomes that Have Been Reported for the Curriculum:

Learner Satisfaction or reaction

Self-reported learner attitude

Outcome and Study Design:

Post only

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