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Achieving Health Equity Through Law & Policy

Change Lab Solutions

Overview

Many people in America face discrimination, social exclusion, poverty, disenfranchisement, and unequal opportunities for education, jobs, and housing – all factors that can negatively impact health.

These factors are embedded in unjust laws, policies, and practices that have shaped the physical, economic, and social environment over many generations and perpetuated unhealthy communities: neighborhoods that have more liquor stores than grocery stores; zoning practices that weaken tax bases needed to support high-performing schools; or limited transportation that makes it hard to get to work. Communities of color, low-income communities, people with low education, and other underserved groups continue to be disproportionately impacted by inequitable laws, policies, and practices. As a result, these communities experience dramatically poorer health than communities with more political and economic power.

We in governments, institutions, and communities need to work together to alter the systems and policies that perpetuate inequity, replacing them with new policies that purposefully lead to health and equity, especially for those with the fewest resources and greatest need.

Through innovative partnerships and a clear set of coordinated strategies, localities can find creative solutions that generate healthier options for under-resourced communities and close health gaps. Government agencies, anchor institutions, businesses, and community organizations all have a role to play. Whether we’re planning communities, building schools, creating jobs, or expanding transit, promoting health for all must become a core part of everything we do.


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