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


Communicating About Equity in Health Impact
Communicating About Equity in Health Impact Assessment: A Guide for Practitioners
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by Society of Practitioners of Health Impact Assessment
Published on 03/01/2016
screenshot of the front page of the report
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
Screen Grab of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Achieving Health Equity resource
Achieving Health Equity
Resource - Website/webpage
Colorful compilation of photos of Black people
Centering Black Voices
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Screenshot of home page of PHERN with yellow banner that reads
PHERN Helps Changemakers End the Pandemic, Advance Equity, Build a Public Health System for the Future
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 03/31/2022
Illustration of six people standing side-by-side, each with a different color shirt (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) and their pronouns written across their chest.
Beyond Inclusion: Pronoun Use for Health and Well-Being
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Staff Pick!
Screen capture of Pathways to Population Health Equity
Pathways to Population Health Equity
Tool - Toolkit/toolbox
Published on 04/07/2022
Screen capture of National Equity Atlas
National Equity Atlas
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
First page of the Racial Equity Map
Racial Equity Map
Tool - Toolkit/toolbox
Thriving Campuses Toolkit banner image
Thriving Campuses Toolkit
Tool - Toolkit/toolbox
Published on 01/05/2022
Screen grab of Diversity Data Kid's site
Diversity Data Kids
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy
First page of Recognizing and Dismantling Raciolinguistic Hierarchies in Latinx Health
Recognizing and Dismantling Raciolinguistic Hierarchies in Latinx Health
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by AMA
Title page of Meeting America's Public Health Challenge
Meeting America's Public Health Challenge
Resource - Report
Brought to you by The Commonwealth Fund
Screen capture of article cover photo: Achieving Racial and Ethnic Equity in U.S. Health Care: A Scorecard of State Performance
Achieving Racial and Ethnic Equity in U.S. Health Care: A Scorecard of State Performance
Resource - Report
Brought to you by The Commonwealth Fund
PDF Cover: Policy, Wellness, and Native American Survivorship
Policy, Wellness, and Native American Survivorship
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by AMA
Cover page of Innovative Laws and Policies for a Post-Pandemic Public Health System
Innovative Laws and Policies for a Post-Pandemic Public Health System
Resource - Report
Brought to you by Network for Public Health Law
Cover page of Powering Health Equity Action with Online Data Tools
Powering Health Equity Action with Online Data Tools
Resource - Report
Brought to you by Ecotrust
First page of A Population Health Impact Pyramid for Health Care article
A Population Health Impact Pyramid for Health Care
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by Milbank Memorial Fund
First page of How to Advance Equity Through Health Impact Assessments
How to Advance Equity Through Health Impact Assessments
Resource
Brought to you by Society of Practitioners of Health Impact Assessment
Published on 11/01/2016
Screen capture of article photo: Healthy Tribes
Healthy Tribes
Resource - Website/webpage
PDF Cover: Blueprint for Positive Change 2020
Blueprint for Positive Change 2020
Resource - Policy Brief
Cover page of Leveraging Community Expertise to Advance Health Equity
Leveraging Community Expertise to Advance Health Equity
Resource - Report
Brought to you by Urban Institute
Screen grab of Inclusive Communication Principles
Health Equity Guiding Principles for Inclusive Communication
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by CDC
Cover page of Principles for Using Public Health Data to Drive Equity
Principles for Using Public Health Data To Drive Equity
Resource - Report
Brought to you by CDC Foundation
First page of Harnessing Administrative Data to Study Health Inequality article
Harnessing Administrative Data to Study Health Inequality
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by The Lancet
Cover page of Understanding the Upstream Social Determinants of Health working paper
Understanding the Upstream Social Determinants of Health
Resource
Brought to you by RAND Corporation
2022 Data Trends from Tableau
Resource - Report
Cover of The Equity Manifesto
The Equity Manifesto
Resource
Brought to you by PolicyLink
PDF Cover Page: Indigenous Health Equity
Indigenous Health Equity
Resource - Report
Long-Range Planning for Health, Equity & Prosperity: A Primer for Local Governments
Long-Range Planning for Health, Equity & Prosperity: A Primer for Local Governments
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by ChangeLab Solutions
First page of Early Childhood Education to Promote Health Equity: A Community Guide Systematic Review
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
Screen capture of The Power of Narrative: Bringing People Together to Advance Equity with Jonathan Heller
The Power of Narrative: Bringing People Together To Advance Equity With Jonathan Heller
Resource - Blog
Brought to you by Healthy Places by Design
Screen capture of Data Democratization: The Unsung Hero of Health Equity blog
Data Democratization: The Unsung Hero of Health Equity
Resource - Blog
Brought to you by Health Leads
Screen capture of What is Health Equity? webpage
What is Health Equity?
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by CDC
Screen capture of Big P/little p Policy Overview video
Big P/little p Policy Overview
Resource - Webinar
Screen shot Urban Indian Organization Profiles: Explore Service Areas and Programs Promoting Urban Indian Health webpage
Urban Indian Organization Profiles
Resource - Website/webpage
Screen Capture of Website Cover Page: Health Equity APHA
Health Equity
Resource - Data Bank/repository
Brought to you by APHA
Cover page for resource to use arts and culture to advance equity and inclusion
Using Arts and Culture to Advance Equity and Inclusion
Resource - Report
Brought to you by Inclusive Debuque
Screen capture of Native Americans: A Crisis in Health Equity article
Native Americans: A Crisis in Health Equity
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by ABA
First page of Urban Health Agenda: Protecting and Promoting the Well-being of Our Nation’s Big Cities Building Healthier, More Equitable Communities
Urban Health Agenda
Resource - Report
Brought to you by BCHC
Screen shot of In Common Newsletter: Multisolving 101
In Common Newsletter: Multisolving 101
Resource
Brought to you by Community Commons
Screen shot of the homepage
Health Equity Policy Platform for COVID-19 Response and Recovery
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by HIP
PDF Cover: LGBTQ-Inclusive Data Collection: A Lifesaving Imperative
LGBTQ-Inclusive Data Collection: A Lifesaving Imperative
Resource - Report
Brought to you by Human Rights Campaign
Cover page of Why Place Matters: Building a Movement
Why Place Matters: Building a Movement for Healthy Communities
Resource - Report
Brought to you by PolicyLink
First page of review of resource on school-based health centers
School-Based Health Centers to Advance Health Equity A Community Guide Systematic Review
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by Elsevier, Inc.
First page of A Community-Centered Approach to Data Sharing and Policy Change: Lessons for Advancing Health Equity brief
A Community-Centered Approach to Data Sharing and Policy Change: Lessons for Advancing Health Equity
Resource - Policy Brief
Brought to you by Center for Health Care Strategies
Cover page of Centering Equity in the Nation's Public Health System brief
Centering Equity in the Nation's Public Health System
Resource - Policy Brief
Brought to you by RWJF
screenshot of the front page of the report
A People’s Guide to Healing the Nation
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by Well Being Trust
First page of Police-Recorded Crime and Disparities in Obesity and Blood Pressure Status in Chicago
Police-Recorded Crime and Disparities in Obesity and Blood Pressure Status in Chicago
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by American Heart Association
First page of Talking About Health Equity
Talking About Health Equity
Resource
Brought to you by FrameWorks Institute
Screen capture of On Racism: A New Standard For Publishing On Racial Health Inequities blog post
On Racism: A New Standard For Publishing On Racial Health Inequities
Resource - Blog
Brought to you by Health Affairs
Published on 07/02/2020
Screen grab of Undoing the Drivers of Health Inequity
Undoing the Drivers of Health Inequity
Resource - Guide/handbook
Screenshot of website cover page: LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center
LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center
Resource - Website/webpage
Screen capture of article cover photo: The Link Between Structural Racism, High Blood Pressure and Black People's Health
The Link Between Structural Racism, High Blood Pressure, and Black People’s Health
Resource - Blog
Brought to you by American Heart Association
Title slide of Health Equity Framework presentation
Health Equity Framework
Resource
Brought to you by Massachusetts Health Policy Commission
Screen capture of Targeted Universalism Bibliography webpage
Targeted Universalism Bibliography
Resource - Data Bank/repository
Brought to you by Othering and Belonging Institute
Screen capture of Health Equity Data Commitment and Principles webpage
Health Equity Data Commitment and Principles
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by Public Health Institute at Denver Health
Cover page of Federal Evidence Agenda on LGBTQI+ Equity
Federal Evidence Agenda on LGBTQI+ Equity
Resource - Report
Brought to you by National Science and Technology Council
Screen Capture of top of newsletter: The Growing Gap: Gender Pay Equity, Meaningful Work, and Wealth during COVID-19
In Common Newsletter: The Growing Gap
Resource
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 03/23/2022
Screenshot of Charting a Course for an Equity-Centered Data System
Charting a Course for an Equity-Centered Data System
Resource - Report
Brought to you by RWJF
First page of Examining Whether The Health-In-All-Policies Approach Promotes Health Equity
Examining Whether The Health-In-All-Policies Approach Promotes Health Equity
Resource - Case Study
Brought to you by Health Affairs
Screen capture of How Investing in Public Health Will Strengthen America's Health
How Investing in Public Health Will Strengthen America’s Health
Resource - Report
Brought to you by Center for American Progress
Screen capture of first article page: The Generational Impact Of Racism On Health: Voices From American Indian Communities
The Generational Impact Of Racism On Health: Voices From American Indian Communities
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by Health Affairs
Cover page for Health Equity Toolkit for Obesity Disparity
Health Equity Toolkit
Resource
Brought to you by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Screen capture of article photo: Health Equity for People with Disabilities
Health Equity for People With Disabilities
Resource - Website/webpage
PDF Cover: Centering Equity to Address Extreme Heat
Centering Equity to Address Extreme Heat
Resource - Report
Brought to you by Urban Institute
PDF Cover: Racialization as a Barrier to Achieving Health Equity for Native Americans
Racialization as a Barrier to Achieving Health Equity for Native Americans
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by AMA
Screen Capture of Native Americans Feel Invisible In U.S. Health Care System article
Native Americans Feel Invisible In U.S. Health Care System
Resource - Blog
Brought to you by NPR
Screen shot of article table: Rural Tribe Health
Rural Tribal Health
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by RHI Hub
Cover image of Healthcare Equity Index 2018 report
Healthcare Equality Index 2018
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Human Rights Campaign
Photo of mosaic handprints on a wall
An Introduction to Health Equity
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Cincinnati Mural Wall. Photo by Stacy Wegley
We Are Here: Housing Insecurity in Cincinnati: The Collection
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Centering Black Voices lab
Story - Written
bottles of COVID vaccine lined up Image by torstensimon from Pixabay
Learning from the Past and Creating New Legacies of Equitable Vaccination
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Screen capture of Achieving Health Equity: Shared Stewardship and the Vital Conditions Framework article
Achieving Health Equity: Shared Stewardship and the Vital Conditions Framework
Story - Written
Brought to you by Nonprofit Quarterly
Published on 12/11/2023
Blurred COVID-19 economic Stimulus American rescue program check on blurred USA flag and sun light background
American Rescue Plan 101: A Call for Equitable Recovery and Systems Renewal
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Staff Pick!
Our Favorite Equity Data Tools
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Cincinnati Mural Wall. Photo by Stacy Wegley
Health Equity and COVID-19
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Screen capture of A Public Health Success Story
A Public Health Success Story
Story - Written
Brought to you by NYT
Published on 10/04/2022
Photo of person with dark skin, a blue shirt, and jeans using an at-home blood pressure monitor
Hypertension, Race, and Ethnicity: Decreasing the Disparities
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Screen capture of Pandemic Highlights Deep-Rooted Problems in Indian Health Service article
Pandemic Highlights Deep-Rooted Problems in Indian Health Service
Story - Written
Brought to you by NYT
Published on 10/08/2021
Screen capture of Promoting Health Equity in Rural Communities story
Promoting Health Equity in Rural Communities
Story - Written
Brought to you by ChangeLab Solutions
Published on 12/13/2022
Photo of person with long dark hair being kissed on the cheek by a child in a bright yellow jacket
Tribal Health: Reinvesting in the Indian Health Service
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Close-up photo of a person's hands holding a cell phone.
Telemental Health Provides Opportunity to Improve Population Mental Health
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
older man stands at Wall Street subway station
The Surgeon General Connects Community Health and Economic Prosperity
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Staff Pick!
Bay Area Equity Atlas
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
Equitable Development Toolkit
Tool - Toolkit/toolbox
Screen grab of Health Equity and Prevention Primer
Health Equity and Prevention Primer
Tool - Workshop/training
Staff Pick!
Screen grab of Racial Equity Analysis Tool
Screen grab of Rural Health Equity Toolkit
Rural Health Equity Toolkit
Tool - Toolkit/toolbox
Screen capture of Population Health Information Tool webpage
Population Health Information Tool
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
Screen shot of the homepage
Health Equity Tracker
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
Screenshot of data tool slides: Imagine Fox Cities: Well-Being Data Tool
Imagine Fox Cities: Well-Being Data Tool
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
Staff Pick!
Equity Impact Review Graphic
Inclusiveness Index: Results
Tool - Data/mapping Tool

 Related Topics


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Data Equity

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Environmental Racism

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Seven Vital Conditions for Health and Well-Being

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Accessibility

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Targeted Universalism

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Environmental Justice

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Community Health Needs Assessment

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Social Determinants of Health

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People Living in Poverty

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LGBTQ+ People

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Climate Justice

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Jewish Americans

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Cultural Humility and Competence

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Older Adults

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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