The Health Opportunity and Equity (HOPE) Initiative


Measures to Advance Health and Opportunity

The Health Opportunity and Equity (HOPE) Initiative was launched in 2018 to start a new conversation about health because we believe that every person in the U.S. should have a fair and just opportunity for the best possible health and well-being.  The initiative, which is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), is led by the National Collaborative for Health Equity and Texas Health Institute in partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center on Society and Health. We believe that every person in the U.S., regardless of their race, ethnicity, socioeconomics or ZIP code, should have the best possible health outcomes. For the country, 50 states, and D.C., HOPE sets benchmarks and tracks 27 indicators by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The indicators measure Social and Economic Factors, Community & Safety, Physical Environment, Access to Healthcare, and Health Outcomes. The data demonstrates how well D.C., states, and the country are providing equitable opportunities to thrive and achieve good health.

In commissioning our work, RWJF recognized that measuring the gaps in health and well-being is an important step toward documenting progress and motivating action to achieve greater equity. With this data, we can better understand the factors contributing to poor health and determine what resources, practices and policies are needed to address them. With its vision, unique design, and data, HOPE offers an aspirational approach by identifying gaps in health and well-being, while charting a path for all to benefit and flourish.

HOPE in the Time of COVID-19

The HOPE Initiative knows it is no accident that communities of color have been hit the hardest by the devastation of COVID-19. Across the country, these are the same groups facing steep systemic barriers to basic opportunities—from a livable income, affordable housing, and food security to access to neighborhoods that are safe and thriving. Left unchecked, disasters like the pandemic only make existing disparities worse.

In response to the pandemic, we created HOPE for COVID-19 to show how inequity plays a role in the virus’ disproportionate effects on communities of color. Specifically, we pair COVID-19 data with HOPE indicators in select states to reveal the connections among the pandemic’s inequitable outcomes and critical measures of health and opportunity. To read more about our findings related to the COVID-19 crisis, please check out our blog post in Health Affairs Grant Watch.