is a resource with inspiring examples of how health departments have concretely advanced health equity — both internally within their departments and externally with communities and other government agencies.

About the Health Equity Guide

By Adedayo Akala 

Nationwide protests have cast a spotlight on racism and inequality in the United States. Now a major bank has put a price tag on how much the economy has lost as a result of discrimination against African Americans: $16 trillion.

Since 2000, U.S. gross domestic product lost that much as a result of discriminatory practices in a range of areas, including in education and access to business loans, according to a new study by Citigroup. It’s not an insignificant number: By comparison, U.S. GDP totaled $19.5 trillion last year (Read more).

On September 14, 2020, Dr. Gail Christopher spoke on Racial Healing on Office of Community Empowerment & Opportunity’s Panel, Reconciliation: Learning from the Past to Heal America’s Future.


By Ben Hecht

As protests sweep the United States, it’s clear that returning to “business as usual” will not be good for business. In just a few days, countless companies that don’t talk about racism publicly have spoken out to condemn racism and police brutality. Employees of color have openly called out racism in their own institutions. On this critical issue, neither consumers nor employees are looking for vague platitudes about change; they want to see companies committing to action within their own walls. Achieving racial equity in the workplace will be one of the most important issues that companies will tackle in the coming decade.

This became evident to me months ago, when I spoke with almost two dozen executives of Fortune 500 companies. My goal was to understand if and how they were thinking about racial equity as part of my work at Living Cities, a nonprofit focused on closing income and wealth gaps in America. The vast majority affirmed that racial equity was an obvious business imperative. But less obvious was what to do about it. With traditional diversity interventions failing, these leaders — the majority of whom were white — reported feeling ill-equipped, even afraid, to act (Read more).

By Alonzo Plough, Gail C. Christopher

The social upheaval we’ve seen as thousands of protesters fill our streets is indicative of American culture being challenged. States are passing new laws, cities are considering calls to defund the police, Confederate statues are being removed, and holidays like Juneteenth are being more formally recognized. From the symbolic to the substantive, culture is where lasting change begins, and where it is sustained.

We are collectively experiencing the combined burden of the disproportionate health and economic impact of COVID-19 on Black and brown populations as well as systemic racism resulting in unarmed people of color being targeted, brutalized, and killed by citizens and law enforcement at alarming rates. Our nation seems to be waking up to a fact we’ve long known: A culture of racial injustice and a culture of health cannot co-exist. Culture reflects and embodies the most deeply held values and beliefs of those in power. The most persistent, yet tacit and denied, belief in US culture is the permission to value some people more than others. This belief has led to systemic disinvestments in communities of color, which have increased vulnerability to COVID-19 and allowed police to continue to unjustly kill Black and brown people (Read full article).

By Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich

RICHMOND, Va. — On a hot summer’s day, the neighborhood of Gilpin quickly becomes one of the most sweltering parts of Richmond.

There are few trees along the sidewalks to shield people from the sun’s relentless glare. More than 2,000 residents, mostly Black, live in low-income public housing that lacks central air conditioning. Many front yards are paved with concrete, which absorbs and traps heat. The ZIP code has among the highest rates of heat-related ambulance calls in the city.

There are places like Gilpin all across the United States. In cities like Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Portland and New York, neighborhoods that are poorer and have more residents of color can be 5 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit hotter in summer than wealthier, whiter parts of the same city (Read more).

During the teleconference, members of the Cancer Free Economy Network, cancer-focused, health professionals, and public health organization leaders will present an overview of the new Joint Statement on Cancer Prevention “Cancer and Health Leaders Call for Action to Reduce the Burden of Cancer by Reducing Environmental Risk Factors.”  This first-of-its-kind statement calls for using available science to ambitiously expand research, practice, and public policy to prevent onset of disease from environmental exposures.

It is now estimated that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime. Over two decades of science has advanced our understanding of how toxic chemicals contribute to the development of cancer. The Cancer Free Economy Network and partners seek to expand the definition of cancer prevention to include reducing hazardous exposures and to mobilize our society toward achieving that goal.

This call will feature notable speakers:  Margaret Kripke, PhD, Professor Emerita, MD Anderson Cancer Center – Jonathan Agin, JD, Executive Director, Max Cure Foundation – Darcie Green, BCPA, Executive Director, Latinas Contra Cancer – and Georges Benjamin, MD, Executive Director, American Public Health Association. This discussion will be moderated by Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, MPH, Executive Director, Children’s Environmental Health Network and Co-Chair of the Health & Science Node for the Cancer Free Economy Network.

What: Teleconference on the Joint Statement on Cancer Prevention “Cancer and Health Leaders Call for Action to Reduce the Burden of Cancer by Reducing Environmental Risk Factors.” 30-minute presentation followed by live question and answer period.


When: Thursday September 17, 2020 – 11am EST, with Q&A to follow

Where: Zoom Webinar, please register.

By Elie Mystal

Now comes the part where white people abandon us. Now comes the part where the white majority impatiently demands a return to normalcy. Now comes the part where white people say, “I believe that Black Lives Matter, but…” Now comes the part where white people start literally telling Black people to stop protesting because some “bad” people are also protesting.

In the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, white people seemingly joined Black people in their calls for justice and change. But that support was always soft. It was entirely predictable that most white people would abandon the movement long before justice was done or change achieved. It was so predictable that I, in fact, predicted it back in June. I knew a majority of white people would revert to form and regress to their mean, because a majority of white people were always going to value their own comfort over justice for Black people (Read more).

By Elizabeth Gulino

On Wednesday, August 5, Detroit Governor Gretchen Whitmer officially signed an order declaring racism a public health crisis, reports The Detroit News. The Michigan city joins 19 states, including Texas, Colorado, and California, and a growing number of cities and counties across the U.S. that have also pointed to racism as a determinant of health, according to the American Public Health Association (Read more).

By Althea Legaspi

According to police, last Sunday at around 2:30 p.m. Chicago police officers responded to a “call of a person with a gun” in the South Side neighborhood of Englewood, and saw someone who matched the description in an alley. Police said the subject then ran and shot at officers while they pursued him on foot. Officers shot back and struck the subject, who was taken into custody and transported to a hospital. Three officers involved were also treated at a hospital. A gun allegedly used by the subject was recovered at the scene. On Monday night, police charged 20-year-old Latrell Allen with two counts of attempted murder and unlawful possession of a weapon. Bond has been set at $1 million (Read more).