Local health departments are building power for health equity

After years of struggling to close health disparities, a new movement has taken root: local health departments are using a set of strategic practices to confront the power imbalances and forms of oppression at the root of health inequities, change the conversation about what creates health equity, develop leadership and support innovation, and build a movement for health equity.

Attend Our Webinar Series

Join us for a 4-part webinar series with national experts and local health departments to discuss their work to advance health equity. Each webinar will focus on a set of strategic practices that health departments can take to pursue a wall-to-wall transformation of how they work internally, with communities, and alongside other government agencies. Organized by HIP, these webinars are co-sponsored with GARE, NCHE, and NACCHO. Learn more about the webinar series


We want to scale up this transformation

This website is structured around a set of strategic practices that health departments can apply to more meaningfully and comprehensively advance health equity. Over and over, more health departments are asking “What are the strategic steps we can take to advance health equity at our health department?” This resource showcases success stories from across the United States to answer this question.

Local health departments are championing transformational change by:
  • Building internal capacity and infrastructure and taking strategic risks to advance equity

  • Fostering strategic community partnerships to build power and engage in social justice movements

  • Working across government agencies to develop shared ownership for health equity

Get to know our case studies

Rhode Island Braids Funding to Create Health Equity Zones

The Rhode Island Department of Health is leveraging various federal, state, and local sources of prevention, categorical disease, and population health funding to create place-based “Health Equity Zones,” geographic areas designed to achieve health equity by eliminating health disparities and promoting healthy communities.

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Rhode Island Braids Funding to Create Health Equity Zones
New York City Races to Justice

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, launched their Race to Justice initiative to reform internal policies, practices, and operations to advance racial equity and social justice across the Department. The initiative builds staff skills to address racism, implements policies to lessen the impact of structural oppression, and strengthens collaborations with communities across the city.

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New York City Races to Justice

What underlies our approach?

To systematically dismantle the patterns of othering and exclusion in government practice, we must pursue a wall-to-wall transformation of how local health departments work internally, with communities, and alongside other government agencies.

This inside/outside approach requires health departments to build internal capacity and a will to act on the social determinants of health and health equity. It also requires developing relationships with and mobilizing communities and government to advocate for action on health equity.