Health equity means that every person has the opportunity to achieve optimal health and safety—a principle and approach that has guided all of Prevention Institute’s work since its inception. We focus on how the structural drivers of inequity, like racism and income inequality, impact communities. We seek to change the community conditions tied to those inequities, by targeting the policies, practices, procedures, and norms that cause or perpetuate them. A focus on health equity permeates all of our focus areas, from violence prevention to mental health to healthy food and activity environments. Our thinking on health equity has informed a number of efforts nationally and internationally, including at the World Health Organization, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the National Academy of Medicine.

Projects & Initiatives

PI works with a breadth of partners and communities to develop strategies and practices to keep people healthy and safe in the first place. Below is a selection of ongoing or recent projects.

  • Countering the Production of Health Inequities through Systems and Sectors

    Prevention Institute is working with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Achieving Health Equity Team to inform its grant making goals and strategies. Our analysis reveals that health inequities have been produced through policies and practices and that multiple sectors have a role to play in reversing the production and in supporting community transformation and health equity.

  • Health Equity in Violence Prevention

    Advancing health equity is a central piece of our work in preventing violence, as we aim to address the underlying systems and conditions of inequity that create and perpetuate violence in the first place.  Our research and trainings in this area address land use practices; community trauma and resilience; early childhood development; and the critical role of urban youth in fostering safe communities.

  • THRIVE: Tool for Health & Resilience In Vulnerable Environments

    In 2001-2003, we developed the Tool for Health and Resilience in Vulnerable Environments (THRIVE) for the U.S. Office of Minority Health. THRIVE is a framework for understanding how structural drivers play out at the community level to impact daily living conditions which, in turn, influence health, safety and health equity.

  • Healthy, Equitable, Active Land Use Network

    HEALU was formed in response to structural barriers to equity in Los Angeles’ land use arena, and in an effort to strategically and collaboratively promote systems change. HEALU augments the role of health in the land use sphere through training, capacity building, convening and proactively advancing key strategies to ensure a healthier, more equitable land use system.


We research and write reports, white papers, fact sheets, opinion pieces, and journal articles, as well as produce videos and podcasts. Here are some of our latest offerings.

  • Countering the Production of Health Inequities EXTENDED SUMMARY

    Working as a thought-partner with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, PI conducted an analysis to determine the sectors and systems to engage for achieving health equity, and pinpointing the actions to accomplish to achieve equitable outcomes. The analysis resulted in Countering the Production of Inequities: A Framework of Emerging Systems to Achieve an Equitable Culture of Health. The framework underscores how historical and current policies and laws, practices and procedures produce inequities in health outcomes to inform a concrete understanding of how to begin to reverse or ameliorate the inequities and support communities in transforming to achieve an equitable culture of health.

  • Community Safety by Design

    Decisions about how land is used, by whom, and for what purposes hold immense potential to prevent violence before it occurs, but land use decisions are rarely made with violence prevention in mind. This publication offers recommendations for creating safer communities through a deeper understanding of the intersection of place and safety.

  • Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience: A Framework for Addressing and Preventing Community Trauma

    This first-of-its-kind framework explores trauma at a community level. It explains how trauma is produced not only by experiencing interpersonal violence but also by experiencing structural violence – the harm that individuals, families, and communities experience from the economic and social structure; social institutions; and social relations of power, privilege and inequity that inhibit them from meeting their basic needs.

Tools & Services

We have developed a broad range of practical, free-to-use tools to guide practitioners, advocates, and policymakers in planning and implementing  prevention strategies. We also provide services to help you use our tools to create healthy and safe communities.

Profiles in Action

These profiles, written by PI and our partners, show what community prevention looks like on the ground, all across the country.

  • THRIVE Empowers Youth to Improve Community Safety: A California Case Example

    The staff of Public Health Institute brought THRIVE to Planada, California to engage youth to address pedestrian safety. After using Photovoice to assess community conditions related to pedestrian safety, the group decided to focus on promoting safe routes to school. To advance safe routes to school, the youth engaged in a multi-faceted campaign, including efforts to create policy change.

  • THRIVE Advances a Shared Understanding of Social Determinants of Health: A Louisiana Case Example

    After the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI) participated in a THRIVE training-of-trainers, LPHI staff applied the concepts of THRIVE to spark organizational change. They created a health equity workgroup and expanded the focus of their ongoing initiatives and coalition to include community environments. They trained community activists on THRIVE and saw quick outcomes with the development a community garden.  

  • The Community Driven Eden Area Liveability Initiative

    Over the course of a decade, stakeholders in the western unincorporated area of Alameda County (also called "The Eden Area") came together to identify, discuss, and debate the most important issues facing their communities. Collectively, they developed a vision of livable communities and a prioritized set of actions.