Utah Healthy Places Index Honored with 2023 NACDD Chronic Disease Innovator Impact Award

Utah HPI

The Utah Healthy Places Index (Utah HPI), a joint project between PHI’s Public Health Alliance of Southern California (Public Health Alliance) and the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is being honored with the 2023 Chronic Disease Innovator Impact Award by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD). The Chronic Disease Innovator Award is given to a state, tribal, or territorial Chronic Disease Unit that demonstrates an innovative approach to reducing the burden of chronic disease prevention and control. This prestigious recognition highlights the powerful role the California Healthy Places Index (HPI) and its iterations play in improving health in underserved communities, cementing its reputation as a leading model of health innovation nationwide.

“I’d like to thank the Public Health Alliance for their groundbreaking work on the California Healthy Places Index. Inspired by the original HPI, our Utah version helps us better understand and address the unique health needs of our communities and streamlines the data-to-action processes. Seeing the success of the HPI and its iterations in guiding community-driven solutions where they make the greatest impact, I truly hope other states adopt the HPI framework to innovate public health responses.” — Sarah Hodson, Deputy Director, Office of Health Promotion and Prevention, Utah Department of Health and Human Services

The Public Health Alliance, which is fiscally administered by the Public Health Institute, developed the California Healthy Places Index (HPI.) The HPI has emerged as a cornerstone in community health promotion — directing over $4.2 billion in equitable investments and influencing over 300 cross-sector policies and programs throughout California.

The Utah HPI is built on the experience and depth of the HPI. Designed to promote health equity and ease the identification of problems and discovery of solutions, the HPI is a robust data mapping and policy platform that provides an in-depth comparison of health-promoting conditions across California neighborhoods.

When Utah expressed interest in a custom version of the HPI, the Public Health Alliance swiftly rose to the occasion. Leveraging our established HPI platform, we collaborated with DHHS to develop a version tuned to the unique community conditions that impact health in the state. This provides Utah’s policymakers, academic researchers, and community leaders with unparalleled insights into health disparities and areas primed for transformative change. With the help of the Public Health Alliance, DHHS created training guides, and within nine months of its launch, 1,800 people were trained to use the Utah HPI.

Helen Dowling, MPH
Through the Utah HPI, we've showcased that the HPI model's tailored approach to health equity can drive significant community health improvements. The success of HPI and its suite of products in both California and Utah highlights the promise of state-specific HPIs in advancing health equity nationwide. What sets HPI apart is its customizable and adaptable framework. Our experience with Utah has refined our approach to crafting state-adjusted HPIs. Our goal with HPI is to forge a healthier future, one state at a time. Helen Dowling, MPH

Director of Data Initiatives, Public Health Alliance of Southern California

Notably, the HPI is the only neighborhood-level map in the U.S. that ties its 23 key drivers of health indicators—associated with life expectancy at birth—to specific policy action recommendations, all presented through a positive, asset-based framing. This approach emphasizes the strengths, resources, and opportunities available in a community rather than focusing on the problems faced.

The Utah HPI’s NACDD’s accolade isn’t just an acknowledgment of the HPI; it’s a celebration of both the DHHS and the Public Health Alliance’s shared belief in harnessing data for action. Through tools like the HPI, we’re reminded that beneath data points lie stories of communities and the promise of a healthier, more equitable tomorrow. We look forward to seeing how the Utah HPI continues to evolve and foster change in the future.

snapshot of Healthy Places Index tool

Learn more about PHI's California Healthy Places Index

The Healthy Places Index (HPI) is a powerful data, mapping and policy platform developed by PHI’s Public Health Alliance of Southern California. HPI is designed to identify opportunities to improve neighborhood health and help guide investments, programs, and policy changes to where they will have the strongest impact on life expectancy. The HPI provides overall scores, detailed data, and recommended actions on specific areas that shape health, like housing, transportation, education, and more.

Get started with the HPI

Originally published by Public Health Alliance of Southern California

More Updates

Work With Us

You change the world. We do the rest. Explore fiscal sponsorship at PHI.

Bring Your Work to PHI

Support Us

Together, we can accelerate our response to public health’s most critical issues.


Find Employment

Begin your career at the Public Health Institute.

See Jobs

Aerial view of wildfire smoke


Wildfires & Extreme Heat: Resources to Protect Yourself & Your Community

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.

Get started

Continue to