Low-income populations and communities of color disproportionately experience worse health and safety outcomes across a broad spectrum of illnesses, injuries, and treatments. Disparities in health among some income, racial, and ethnic groups in the US are significant and, by many measures, expanding. When elements of racism, poverty, and problematic community environments converge, greater overall threats to health develop. The most powerful factors shaping both health and health disparities are social and economic determinants, or the community conditions for health.
Prevention Institute's approach to promoting health equity advances a deeper understanding of how fundamental causes of disparity (e.g., economics and oppression) shape community environments and how these environments, in turn, shape health. To improve health status and equity, we need to give proportionately greater attention to a prevention-oriented approach. Policies and organizational practices that improve the environments in which people live, work, learn, and play are powerful tools in reducing disparities. Every community is different, and understanding the factors that most influence health inequities is vital in designing strategic responses. We are committed to translating available research into effective tools, practice, and policies.