Planners, Here’s How to Unlock Health Equity in Your Community

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health equity planning from ChangeLab Solutions
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Local planners have the power to help create healthy, fair communities.

Unfortunately, common planning practices have contributed to the high percentage of poor people and people of color who live in unhealthy places, widening disparities in health and wealth.

That’s why our friends at ChangeLab Solutions created Long Range-Planning for Health, Equity & Prosperity: A Primer for Local Governments. This can help planners prioritize health and equity in their work.

“By integrating health and equity considerations into planning practices, planners have the power to revise past planning decisions and create healthy, equitable, and prosperous communities,” ChangeLab reports.

Place Matters for Health Equity

Where you live matters for your health.

Inequitable city planning, historic discriminatory practices like redlining, and other inequities have created racial/ethnic wealth gaps in neighborhoods. These areas lack health-promoting assets like healthcare and jobs.

doctor patient healthcare protections latinoLatino neighborhoods, for example, struggle with equitable access to healthy food, safe places for physical activity, affordable housing and transit, social support, and healthy school environments.

Fortunately, city leaders have tools to address Latino health inequities.

Community leaders can adopt dynamic land-use methods, public-private partnerships, and community involvement to build and revitalize Latino neighborhoods,” according to a Salud America! research review. “This can create affordable housing, connection to public transportation, and more green spaces.”

Integrating these kinds of actions into long-term planning can help even more.

Planning with Health Equity in Mind

ChangeLab’s new resource is for city and regional planners, local leaders, advocates, researchers, and consultants who want to advance health and equity in their communities through long-range planning.

Elements of a healthy community from ChangeLab Solutions health equityThe resource helps unpack five key questions:

  1. What are effective ways to communicate the critical role of planning in creating healthy, prosperous, equitable communities?
  2. How can you use planning frameworks to help reduce health inequities
  3. How can you use public health frameworks to plan for equitable prosperity?
  4. What are some practical ways to integrate health and equity into your everyday planning practice?
  5. How can you make sure your long-range plans achieve their intended health equity results?

Answering these questions can align health equity policies across departments. It also can help incorporate equity in long-range planning, community engagement, investment, and evaluation processes.

long-term planning for health equity from ChangeLab Solutions“By shifting our frame, we see that answering these new questions requires us to confront deep structural drivers of inequity — like discrimination, poverty, lack of economic and educational opportunity, uneven power, and governance that limits meaningful participation,” according to ChangeLabs.

“The challenge for planners, therefore, is to find ways to change these unequal distributions. This primer provides guidance on how to do just that,” they report. “This resource offers detailed solutions and practical, real-world examples from around the country. In particular, this guide centers on incorporating health and equity considerations into everyday planning practices throughout the policy process, community engagement, capacity building, implementation, and more.”

What Else Can We Do?

First, check out ChangeLab’s new resource.

Then learn more about key ways to tackle poverty and healthcare among Latinos and all people.

You can then take a closer look at your own community.

Get a “Health Equity Report Card” for Your Area!

Health Equity Report Card - 1Select your county name and get a customized Health Equity Report Card by Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio. You will see how your area stacks up in housing, transit, poverty, health care, healthy food, and other health equity issues compared to the rest of your state and nation.

The Health Equity Report Card auto-generates local data with interactive maps and comparative gauges, which can help you visualize health inequities.

You can email your Health Equity Report Card, share it on social media, and use it to make the case for community change to boost health equity, where everyone has a fair, just opportunity to live their healthiest.

Get your health equity Report Card!

 

 

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