Conceptualizing the Work- 1 of 7: Vulnerable Populations Vs. Oppressed Populations

Conceptualizing the Work-1 of 7: Vulnerable Populations Vs. Oppressed Populations

Archie Boone Jr.


What’s not working is the current approach of gearing up to fight for vulnerable populations, because a light has been shed in dark places, by institutions who have a direct interest in the treatment of said populations.

Sure, we have work to do!

But, what if we took a moment to conceptualize the work we have done?

Conceptualizing work allows one to understand the impact of the approaches used to complete the work. By conceptualizing the work, we can see how well we are working, or not.

Here is one of seven “CURRENT APPROACHES” beside its replacement: “HEALTH EQUITY APPROACH”

Current Approach

Vulnerable population- focus on people rather than institutions or societal factors that generate risk

What’s not working is the current gearing up to fight for vulnerable populations, because a light has been shed in dark places, by institutions who have a direct interest in the treatment of said populations. Often times, unbeknownst to many institutions, they are apart of producing community factors that generate risk. So, conceptualizing work can assist rule-followers in tightening their “moral” tool belts as to make adjustments toward utilizing health equity approaches rather their preceding approaches.

Health Equity Approach

Oppressed populations – addresses injustice in the everyday practices of institutions; systematic constraints resulting from traditions, laws, rules

What is working is what we do at work to undo what we have done that hurts oppressed populations. Let me explain. Addressing injustices in the everyday practices of institutions does not mean lawsuits, lawsuits, lawsuits. If that is what we fear, then we have already crumbled. What oppressed populations need most is access to care/treatment when their behaviors call for help. Yes, behaviors communicate needs, and if we see certain behaviors, then we can begin to position ourselves and others to anticipate specific needs of oppressed people. In this manner, competent, compassionate, caring individuals lead the charge. However, there must be a unified front and back office of administrators and policy-makers that see what is happening in the lives and communities of oppressed people. Prevention science has changed drastically, over the past 20 years, and community transformation is inevitable.

Systematic constraints resulting from traditions, laws, and rules have become the Achilles heel of many institutions that believe all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If we believe that these truths are self-evident, then we must also work to help our institutions address laws that are inequitable and unjust, as well as rules and practices within that are “not” morally right and fair.

I wish I could say that resistance is futile, but someone might say, “I wish he would shut up already!” That, leading others to reject the thought of ever conceptualizing the work- only to have the masses remain with the current approach. And, I would be made a loner to travel the frontier of health equity approaches in a forest of oppressed people, seeking liberation. Hey guys, community health matters!


Archie Boone Jr.

Partnerships for Success Coordinator





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Norfolk Prevention Coalition (NPC)

NPC’s mission to develop a comprehensive and city-wide prevention strategy and continuum of evidence based services to strength and improve outcomes for Norfolk families.


While promoting Drug-free communities, Norfolk Prevention Coalition seeks to engage all community sectors to work together to reduce use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.

NPC collaborates with local and regional agencies to provide prevention education on substance use and abuse to parents and other community members.


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If you have any questions or concerns about the survey, please contact OMNI Institute.Support at: or 303.839.9422. OMNI Institute is an organization working with coalitions across the state of Virginia to learn more about substance use among youth and young adults.

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