How Can We Build Government Alliances?
Build alliances with other government agencies to advance equity (Read actions you can take below)
Many government agencies are not trained or don’t see the need to think about the social determinants of health in their policy-making, which range from housing to transportation to economic development and police practices. Cross-sector agency collaborations can help other agencies to cultivate greater ownership and responsibility on how their actions can benefit or burden community health. Health departments can also become allies to agencies that are considering policy changes that may be contested by various stakeholders.
Health departments must invest staff resources in developing these long-term relationships, which are fundamental to advancing health-equity policy change. Approaches that place equity at the center of governance — for example, Health in All Policies — are particularly useful in initiating and fostering these collaborations.
Case studies that build government alliances
Actions to Advance Equity Using This Practice
Your leadership, staff, and department can take the following actions to build government alliances:
- Build awareness of the connection between the social determinants and health with government agencies, elected officials, and community stakeholders. Advance a narrative that says: 1) health is more than health care, and 2) to improve health, we must focus on community conditions that lead to health
- Develop working relationships and multi-sectoral collaborations with city/county/state agencies of labor, transportation, education, corrections, economic development, housing, and public safety to influence their decision making in ways that promote health equity. Seek inclusion in related agencies’ policy discussions and decision making
- Compare health department data and analysis with other agencies’ corresponding data and analysis. Use the data to develop a shared understanding of community conditions that create health
- In collaboration with other agencies, conduct equity analyses (e.g., health impact assessments, equity impact analyses, or research studies) to examine the impacts of proposed policies, projects, and plans on health equity
- Advance a health equity in all policies approach by: 1) building relationships with and engaging agency counterparts to add health considerations in policy development, and 2) engaging in dialogue with residents, governing bodies, and elected officials regarding governmental policies responsible for health inequities
- Incorporate goals, language, and data about health equity and the social and economic conditions necessary for health into city/county/state’s plans, budgets, assessments, and other strategic documents