These new conversation guides highlight successful cross-disciplinary collaborations across the country for healthy, equitable communities. Each guide includes conversational questions that health, design, planning professionals and more can use to kick-start community collaboration.
What Is Health Equity? And What Difference Does a Definition Make?
This report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation aims to stimulate discussion and promote greater consensus about the meaning of health equity and the implications of acting on it. The goal of the report is to identify essential elements to guide effective action rather than to encourage all practitioners to use the same words to define health equity.
The report notes that definitions can matter and that, in the case of health equity, clarity is important, especially given that working towards equity is a struggle that must engage diverse stakeholders with varied agendas. Clarifying the meaning of health equity can bring actors a step closer to identifying and promoting policies and practices that are likely to reduce inequities.
What is health equity? includes a general definition of health equity, a definition that is relevant for measurement and short, audience-specific definitions. In addition, the report presents guiding principles for action to achieve health equity, examples of organizations advancing health equity and resources for further exploration and learning.
Race in the Heartland: Equity, Opportunity, and Public Policy in the Midwest
A half-century removed from the high-tide of the civil rights movement, progress on racial equity has slowed or stalled on many fronts. Nowhere is this more starkly evident than in the twelve states of the Midwest region, where racial disparities in economic opportunity and economic outcomes are wider than they are in other regions, and policy interventions designed to close those gaps are meager. Race in the Heartland: Equity, Opportunity, and Public Policy in the Midwest examines the roots of those racial disparities, documents their extent and impact, and proposes a range of policy solutions.
In the United States, some populations suffer from far greater disparities in health than others. Those disparities are caused not only by fundamental differences in health status across segments of the population, but also because of inequities in factors that impact health status, so-called determinants of health. Only part of an individual’s health status depends on his or her behavior and choice; community-wide problems like poverty, unemployment, poor education, inadequate housing, poor public transportation, interpersonal violence, and decaying neighborhoods also contribute to health inequities, as well as the historic and ongoing interplay of structures, policies, and norms that shape lives. When these factors are not optimal in a community, it does not mean they are intractable: such inequities can be mitigated by social policies that can shape health in powerful ways. Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity seeks to delineate the causes of and the solutions to health inequities in the United States. This report focuses on what communities can do to promote health equity, what actions are needed by the many and varied stakeholders that are part of communities or support them, as well as the root causes and structural barriers that need to be overcome.
The Groundwater Approach by Racial Equity Institute
The Groundwater metaphor is designed to help practitioners at all levels internalize the reality that we live in a racially structured society, and that that is what causes racial inequity. The metaphor is based on three observations:
racial inequity looks the same across systems,
socio-economic difference does not explain the racial inequity; and,
inequities are caused by systems, regardless of people’s culture or behavior.
Embracing these truths helps leaders confront the reality that all our systems, institutions, and outcomes emanate from the racial hierarchy, on which the United States was built. In other words, we have a “groundwater” problem, and we need “groundwater” solutions. Starting from there, we begin to unlock transformative change.
This paper was developed to be used as a tool to deepen both individual understanding of the need for systemic change, as well as a tool for facilitated group learning and development.
Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience: A Framework for Addressing and Preventing Community Trauma
This report offers a groundbreaking framework for understanding the relationship between community trauma and violence. Until now, there has been no basis for understanding how community trauma undermines both individual and community resilience, especially in communities highly impacted by violence, and what can be done about it.
Advancing a System of Prevention to Achieve Health Equity
What does it take to realize the vision of health, safety, and wellbeing for all? Drawing from successful initiatives that dramatically increased the length and quality of people’s lives, Prevention Institute developed the System of Prevention framework to support health leaders and their partners to delve into systems-level work as they innovate, build practice, advance policy and systems changes, and generate momentum for comprehensive prevention and health equity.