Developed by Seabourne Consulting, experts in Health Equity

Health Equity

Health equity means that every person has an equal opportunity to be healthy and well. Opportunities to be healthy and well are often assessed by examining the Seven Vital Conditions, or the Social Determinants of Health (e.g. humane housing, meaningful work and wealth). While achieving health equity is intuitively imperative and a goal of many organizations and change-makers working to advance equitable well-being, it’s also a common challenge. This is because inequities are created when barriers exist that prevent individuals and communities from reaching their full potential to be healthy and well, and there are many such barriers in communities across the Nation. Examples of barriers to well-being include poverty, discrimination, and racism, all of which can have consequences like lack of affordable housing, and lack of access to good-paying jobs or high-quality, culturally appropriate health care. To achieve health equity, we must not only decrease barriers, but also remove the societal circumstances that are a result of these barriers. To be clear, decreasing poverty is positive, but if those in poverty still lack access to health care, we have not achieved health equity. 


One of the most difficult things about working toward health equity is that in many cases barriers to well-being exist because of conditions that have persisted in the U.S. for years, if not decades. It’s challenging to reverse these long-standing conditions due to their pervasive nature and the way they are deeply embedded in society. For example, racism in the U.S. is systemic and has historically prevented people of color from having the same opportunities as their white counterparts for economic, physical, and mental health. Without health equity, vulnerable populations are at risk for disparate access to community resources and conditions that create well-being because of economic, cultural, racial, or physical characteristics. Importantly, improved overall population health is not necessarily a sign of increased health equity. Health equity is demonstrated through a decrease in health disparities—worse health outcomes in marginalized groups.


While overall health in the U.S. has improved significantly in the last century (the life expectancy today is drastically improved as compared to 100 years ago), health disparities persist. We see evidence of this even in the recent progression of the COVID-19 pandemic, where people of color are disproportionately represented among coronavirus cases.


Achieving increased health equity will require engagement with people in historically marginalized communities that have experienced barriers to well-being, many of whom are advocating for themselves in unprecedented and impactful ways. It will also require allyship and commitment and work from stewards across systems and sectors to decrease barriers to conditions that lead to well-being. Adoption of a well-being framework like the Vital Conditions for Well-Being acknowledges the interconnectedness of our physical health to the community conditions in which we live, and the corresponding disparities in these conditions because of a lack of health equity. Additionally, as we consider use of data and measurement to track progress toward health equity, a commitment to health equity requires constant monitoring not only of overall (average) levels of health and the resources [conditions] needed for health in a whole population, but also routinely comparing how more and less advantaged groups within that population are faring.”


Featured Resources

       

Resources & Tools


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Aligning Systems with Communities to Advance Equity through Shared Measurement: Guiding Principles
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences
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Achieving Health Equity
Resource - Website/webpage
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Centering Black Voices
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
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PHERN Helps Changemakers End the Pandemic, Advance Equity, Build a Public Health System for the Future
Story
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 03/31/2022
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Beyond Inclusion: Pronoun Use for Health and Well-Being
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 10/20/2021
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Staff Pick!
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Staff Pick!
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Pathways to Population Health Equity
Tool - Toolkit/toolbox
Published on 04/07/2022
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National Equity Atlas
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
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Racial Equity Map
Tool - Toolkit/toolbox
Published on 09/16/2020
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Thriving Campuses Toolkit
Tool - Toolkit/toolbox
Published on 01/05/2022
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Diversity Data Kids
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy
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Healthy Tribes
Resource - Website/webpage
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Blueprint for Positive Change 2020
Resource - Policy Brief
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Health Equity Guiding Principles for Inclusive Communication
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by CDC
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2022 Data Trends from Tableau
Resource - Report
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The Equity Manifesto
Resource
Brought to you by PolicyLink
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Indigenous Health Equity
Resource - Report
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Long-Range Planning for Health, Equity & Prosperity: A Primer for Local Governments
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by ChangeLab Solutions
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Early Childhood Education to Promote Health Equity: A Community Guide Systematic Review
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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Health Equity
Resource - Data Bank/repository
Brought to you by American Public Health Association
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Using Arts and Culture to Advance Equity and Inclusion
Resource - Report
Brought to you by Inclusive Debuque
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Native Americans: A Crisis in Health Equity
Resource - Journal Article
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In Common Newsletter: Multisolving 101
Resource
Brought to you by Community Commons
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Health Equity Policy Platform for COVID-19 Response and Recovery
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by HIP
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Why Place Matters: Building a Movement for Healthy Communities
Resource - Report
Brought to you by PolicyLink
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School-Based Health Centers to Advance Health Equity A Community Guide Systematic Review
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by Elsevier, Inc.
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A People’s Guide to Healing the Nation
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by Well Being Trust
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LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center
Resource - Website/webpage
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LGBTQ Youth Health Equity Data Brief
Resource - Report
Brought to you by North Sound ACH
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In Common Newsletter: The Growing Gap
Resource
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 03/23/2022
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Charting a Course for an Equity-Centered Data System
Resource - Report
Brought to you by RWJF
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Health Equity Toolkit
Resource
Brought to you by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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Rural Tribal Health
Resource - Website/webpage
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Healthcare Equality Index 2018
Resource - Assessment/evaluation
Brought to you by Human Rights Campaign
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We Are Here: Housing Insecurity in Cincinnati: The Collection
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
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Centering Black Voices lab
Story - Written
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Learning from the Past and Creating New Legacies of Equitable Vaccination
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
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American Rescue Plan 101: A Call for Equitable Recovery and Systems Renewal
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Staff Pick!
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Our Favorite Equity Data Tools
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
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Health Equity and COVID-19
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
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Hypertension, Race, and Ethnicity: Decreasing the Disparities
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
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Tribal Health: Reinvesting in the Indian Health Service
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
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Telemental Health Provides Opportunity to Improve Population Mental Health
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
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The Surgeon General Connects Community Health and Economic Prosperity
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Staff Pick!
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Bay Area Equity Atlas
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
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Equitable Development Toolkit
Tool - Toolkit/toolbox
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Health Equity and Prevention Primer
Tool - Workshop/training
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Staff Pick!
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Staff Pick!
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Health Equity Tracker
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
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Imagine Fox Cities: Well-Being Data Tool
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
Staff Pick!
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Staff Pick!
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Inclusiveness Index: US 2021
Tool - Data/mapping Tool

Data & Metrics


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Public Health and Equity Resource Navigator
Library
Published on 10/22/2021

 Related Topics


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Environmental Racism

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Seven Vital Conditions for Health and Well-Being

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Targeted Universalism

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Environmental Justice

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Community Health Needs Assessments

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Social Determinants of Health

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LGBTQ+ People

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Climate Justice

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Racial Justice

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Mental and Behavioral Health

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Gender Pay Equity

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Racism

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Disparities in Healthcare

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Native Americans and First Nations

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Black and African Americans