Mapping Health Disadvantages in California—and Guiding Funding Where It’s Needed Most


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The Healthy Places Index, launched by PHI's Public Health Alliance of Southern California, uncovers census tract and community-level conditions that predict life expectancy, and then offers policy and other concrete actions to address them.

$450M+ in state grant funding using the Healthy Places Index for selection

100 use cases of the Healthy Places Index

An image for The California Healthy Places IndexDeveloped by PHI’s Public Health Alliance of Southern California in partnership with the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center on Society and Health, the California Healthy Places Index (HPI) is a powerful tool to help communities uncover, explore and even change the community conditions that predict life expectancy. It contains user-friendly mapping and data resources at the census tract level across California, and scores based on community conditions to allow for comparisons between areas. The tool also includes detailed policy guides to support specific policy interventions that improve community conditions and health.

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Funders want to steer dollars where they’re needed most—but it’s hard to make the case without data, especially on a hyper-local level. By quickly flagging key metrics, HPI can be used to help communities and policymakers target limited resources and guide effective on-the-ground actions. Since its launch in June 2018, more than $450 million in funding has been made available for regional and state grant programs by using HPI as one of the selection criteria for disadvantaged communities and/or addressing health concerns. Currently, there are nearly 100 agencies, businesses and community groups using HPI to integrate public health into their work.

In 2019, HPI was prominently featured in the Asian Pacific Environmental Network’s Mapping Resilience: A Blueprint for Thriving in the Face of Climate Disasters report, calling the HPI interface “one of the most accessible and user-friendly mapping frameworks with a variety of intuitive features.” The report reviewed existing frameworks related to climate vulnerability and climate impacts, and described the HPI as including “the most comprehensive and extensive range of socioeconomic factors, health outcomes, community characteristics, and environmental exposures that contribute to vulnerability.”

The HPI builds on the California Health Disparities Index (HDI), which was developed in 2016 by PHI’s Public Health Alliance of Southern California and health departments across the state. The HDI was renamed and updated in 2018, and is now known as the California Healthy Places Index. Learn more about the HDI tool.

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Communities across the U.S. and around the world are grappling with dangerous wildfires and extreme heat. These threats disrupt and uproot communities and pose serious risks to environmental and community health—from rising temperatures, unhealthy air pollutants, water contamination and more. Find PHI tools, resources and examples to help communities take action and promote climate safety, equity and resiliency.

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