Community members and racial justice advocates are collectively pursuing transformative solutions designed for equity and justice, which requires dismantling and replacing policies, practices, and investment patterns that reinforce structural racism. Prevention Institute is joining this call to action through a body of work to advance a System of Prevention for Racial Justice and Health Equity that supports health, safety, and wellbeing.
Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their full health potential and that no one is disadvantaged, excluded, or dismissed from achieving this potential. At Prevention Institute, we focus on how structural drivers of inequity—such as racism, sexism, and income inequality—impact communities. And we support community-based organizations and advocates in building power and capacity to change the systems that created these inequities in the first place.
Racial justice is a primary focus of Prevention Institute’s health equity work because racism, discrimination, and other forms of racial injustice have resulted in dramatic health and safety disparities for communities of color. Without closing racially unjust gaps in health outcomes, we will not be able to achieve health, safety, and wellbeing for our nation as a whole.
Our work is implemented through partnerships and collaborations with coalitions, public health departments, and community-based organizations; and centers the lived experiences of communities whose voices have been historically excluded and underrepresented. We bring our tools and frameworks to inform and build capacity toward effective prevention, racial justice, and health equity strategy development. Our staff are our champions who bring both professional and personal experience to the table and help shape equity solutions that support community health, safety, and wellbeing
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.
Beyond COVID-19 Recovery: Advancing a System of Prevention for Racial Justice and Health Equity
Centering Equity & Justice in Rebuilding the Nation’s Public Health Infrastructure
The Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) and Prevention Institute, with support from the Skoll Foundation, are developing a playbook for rebuilding a public health system, rooted in racial equity, that builds on COVID-19 lessons and experiences.
COVID-19 Public Health and Equity Collaborative
This collaborative is developing a COVID-19 policy agenda that takes the need for stable housing, mental health and wellbeing, food security, and equitable enforcement of emergency and public health powers into account.
Park equity—fair and just access to parks, trails, community gardens, and other green spaces—is essential to healthy communities. But park inequities unjustly affect low-income communities across the U.S., especially people living in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods. Through our local-level projects and national initiatives, we are building momentum for park equity.
Countering the Production of Health Inequities through Systems and Sectors
The opportunity to be healthy is not afforded to everyone in America. As a result, many preventable illnesses occur in higher frequency, earlier, and with greater severity among people living in concentrated poverty and in communities of color. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Prevention Institute analyzed what has contributed to these inequities to determine a pathway forward to produce health equity.
Our approach to water equity connects a range of environmental and social issues whose challenges and solutions are interwoven, from drinking water quality and stormwater management to urban greening and fiscal equity. It also recognizes the full spectrum of disparate environmental conditions that negatively impact the health of low-income communities of color—including air, soil and water pollution and disparities in natural and recreational amenities—and considers how system-level solutions may address or compound inequities.
Prevention Institute serves as strategic advisor for the Convergence Partnership, providing staffing and guidance on strategy development and policy analysis. The Convergence Partnership is a national funder collaborative working to transform policies, practices, and systems to advance racial justice 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.
Healthy and Equitable Land Use Demonstration Projects
Decisions about land use—like what projects get built and where, whose voices shape the process, and what supports are in place to ensure that existing residents benefit from new investments—directly impact community health. Through our local-level projects and policy work, we are building a model of how to embed health equity in all land use related decisions.
Publications & Other Resources
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.
Building Bridges: The Strategic Imperative for Advancing Health Equity and Racial Justice
This concept paper explores how and why to bring together people working on health equity and racial justice, including understanding the tensions between these two approaches, recognizing shared goals, and identifying five strategic opportunities for collaboration.
Contact La'Quana Williams for more information.
Partnering for health equity: Grassroots organizations on collaborating with public health agencies
Drawing on interviews with grassroots leaders from across the country, this report explores how the political landscape, funding, staff skills, leadership, and partnerships influence the ability of community-based organizations to work effectively with public health agencies to address health inequities and racial injustices.
A Time of Opportunity: Water, Health, and Equity in the Los Angeles Region
The Los Angeles region is reimagining its water infrastructure to meet the needs of a growing population in the face of increasingly unreliable water supplies and a changing climate.
BRIEF: Countering the Production of Health Inequities: Ensuring the Opportunity for Health for All
In this brief, Countering the Production of Health Inequities: Ensuring the Opportunity for Health for All, Prevention Institute analyzes how various sectors such as housing, education, and economic development have contributed to inequities in health but also have important roles to play in achieving health equity. There is a role for every institution, sector, and system working together to achieve an equitable culture of health across the United States.
Moving from Understanding to Action on Health Equity: Social Determinants of Health Frameworks and THRIVE
This document outlines the development of THRIVE (Tool for Health and Resilience in Vulnerable Environments) and the concept of the social determinants of health (SDOH). By analyzing 22 SDOH frameworks in addition to THRIVE, we identify similarities and differences among the frameworks and highlight THRIVE’s unique contribution to the field.
Measuring What Works to Achieve Health Equity: Metrics for the Determinants of Health
This paper provides a framework for understanding how disparities in health outcomes are produced and how health equity can be achieved, particularly by addressing the determinants of health. It also delineates a set of metrics that could reflect progress toward achieving health equity.
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.
THRIVE: Tool for Health & Resilience In Vulnerable Environments
THRIVE is a tool for assessing the status of community conditions and prioritizing them for action to improve health, safety, and health equity.
Health Equity and Prevention Primer
Our free, interactive online primer helps practitioners build primary prevention and equity into community health.
A Practitioner's Guide for Advancing Health Equity
This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guide, developed with help from Prevention Institute, helps public health practitioners advance health equity through community prevention strategies.
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.