The Health Opportunity and Equity (HOPE) Initiative

The Health Opportunity and Equity (HOPE) Initiative, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was launched to start a new conversation about health because we believe that every person in the U.S., no matter their background or ZIP code, should have a fair and just opportunity for the best possible health and well-being. We set benchmarks and track 24 indicators of health and well-being by race and ethnicity for the nation, all 50 states and D.C. In doing so, we measure how well D.C., states and the nation are doing in providing equitable opportunities to thrive and achieve good health. Our full website will go live in late summer 2020. For previous materials on our full HOPE data, please see the bottom of this page.

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 COVID-19, we have created an interim website 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.


Meaningful solutions to systemic inequities will require engaging with and investing in disenfranchised communities, enacting policies that reverse historical injustices, and building systems that provide everyone a fair and just opportunity to thrive in the places where they live, learn, work, and play. When our full site launches later this summer, we hope it spurs decision-makers to understand where gaps in opportunities lie for people from different backgrounds. Because one of the best ways to avoid the pitfalls of alleged “colorblind policy” is the transparent use of racial and ethnic data to rectify long standing inequities and create the conditions for us all to thrive.

Archived HOPE Resources:





The HOPE Initiative is supported by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and led by National Collaborative for Health Equity and Texas Health Institute in partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center on Society and Health.