This website includes:
- A set of Strategic Practices to advance health equity in local health departments
- Key actions health departments can take to advance their current practice towards health equity
- 25+ case studies from local health departments that describe how they advanced the strategic practice, factors that enabled the work, impacts, and advice for others
- 150+ resources from allied organizations and others to advance the strategic practices
We’re in Pursuit of Transformational Systems Change
HealthEquityGuide.org is organized around a set of Strategic Practices that can be used to advance health equity in local health departments. These strategic practices are rooted in a theory of change that 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.
Used collectively, these strategic practices can help local health departments systematically address power imbalances, racism, and other forms of oppression which are at the root of health inequities.
Health Departments Can Lead the Way
This website is geared towards local health departments who are bought into the need to prioritize health equity, and who understand the social determinants of health, but are seeking information on how to best move that work forward. Health department leadership — including commissioners, division and branch directors, executives, senior program managers, and supervisors — may be best positioned to implement these practices. However, we believe that a wide range of staff have the power to start conversations and initiate changes that move in this direction.
If you’re looking for information about health equity in general, check out the Resources section.
Don’t Dip Your Toes: Jump In!
This resource is not intended as a step-by-step guide for health departments to take. On the contrary, we know that every health department has different capacities and constraints depending upon their financial, political, social, and historical context.
As Dr. Renee Canady stated, doing health equity work is like trying to get to the middle of a pool — it doesn’t matter where we dive in, as long as we dive in. Regardless of where we start with these transformative and strategic practices, the most important thing is to dive into the pool!