Health Equity Tool Helps Transform Communities from the Ground

09 Dec 2013 |
Health Equity Tool Helps Transform Communities from the Ground

More and more, communities and policymakers are beginning to recognize that health happens beyond the doctor’s office. It happens where we live, learn, work, and play.

A new tool from the Centers for Disease Control and the Prevention Institute is designed to help community practitioners and public health advocates advance health equity with this broader perspective.

By health equity we mean just and fair inclusion that enables every individual the opportunity to achieve good health. Good health requires access to healthy food, safe places to play and be active, access to public transportation, well-funded schools, and a healthier environment, to name a few.

A Practitioner’s Guide for Advancing Health Equity from CDC and Prevention Institute will help practitioners and advocates advance health equity through community prevention strategies.

The guide acknowledges that people of color and people in low-income neighborhoods face disproportionately worse health outcomes, which must be addressed in a targeted way in order to improve health and community.

While health disparities can be addressed at multiple levels, the guide focuses on policy, systems, and environmental improvements designed to improve the places where people live, learn, work, and play. It is designed for those who are new to the concept of health equity, as well as those who are already working to create equitable environments.

The guide includes dozens of case studies that showcase the great work being done by local health departments and community coalitions, including:

  • In San Francisco, CA, the California LGBT Tobacco Education Partnership worked with the city to pass a city-wide policy removing the sale of tobacco products in its pharmacies, affecting an estimated 100 pharmacies – and ensuring access to tobacco-free pharmacies for all of the city’s 805,000 residents.
  • In Louisville, KY, Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness implemented the Healthy Hometown Restaurant Initiative, designed to encourage restaurants to provide healthier options for their patrons. Outreach efforts led many restaurant owners throughout the city, including in low-income neighborhoods, to alter their menus and provide nutrition labeling information for their menus.
  • In Jefferson County, AL, a coalition of local conservation and health organizations worked with the county’s health department to improve residents’ access to walking trails. With input from over 3,000 residents, the coalition created the Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System Master Plan, which connects more than 200 miles of greenways and trails to homes, schools, churches, and businesses.

To read A Practitioner’s Guide for Advancing Health Equity, click here.