Zip codes say a lot about life expectancy. It has become widely accepted by many in the field of public health that the health of individuals is driven more by their communitie's social and environmental factors — including education, employment, housing, and transportation access — than by medical care.  Evidence also indicates that low-income communities and communities of color are ones who frequently lack access to affordable sources of healthy food, housing, and transportation unlike wealthier, higher income communities.   To enhance quality of life and opportunity, every neighborhood should have access to safe, potable water; clean air; convenient proximity to purchase healthy food; affordable housing and access to transportation that connects to jobs and education.  Every neighborhood should be a healthy community of opportunity. 

Healthy People, Healthy Places

At PolicyLink, the vision of healthy people in healthy places has led to the promotion of policies and practices designed to improve the places where people live, work, play, and learn.  Advocating for policies that provide resources all along the food system—from where and how it’s grown and produced to insuring its availability in all communities—is one such essential, along with transportation and housing.  The Convergence Partnership and the Transportation Equity Caucus are just two of the ongoing efforts designed to support the work of health equity and to secure local and federal policies to move the work forward. PolicyLink continues to work deeply on transportation equity, advocating for transportation planning and investments that serve the needs of low-income communities of color, providing access to opportunities necessary to health and well-being.  

This work includes providing training, research, and opportunities to connect innovative and inspiring leaders in building the understanding of health equity, within and across multiple institutions.  It also seeks to expand the understanding of the critical links that exist between health and housing, health and transportation, and other impediments to opportunity.

To ensure all children have opportunities to live healthy, the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink (PNI) supports the federal program, Promise Neighborhoods, inspired by the Harlem Children's Zone. Centered around strong schools, it promotes the development of children through education, health, and social supports -- from the cradle to college to career.  

Advancing Equity as the Key to a Prosperous California and the Nation

California’s population has been majority people of color for more than a decade—a demographic reality the nation will soon face as a whole.

Now is the time for the state to model how an equitable and inclusive society is the best way to attain shared prosperity. In partnership with a growing number of dedicated equity advocates across the state and progressive leaders in Sacramento, PolicyLink is committed to advancing equity as the key to a booming California.