Healthy Neighborhood Investments: A Policy Scan & Strategy Map

Released by PHI’s Build Healthy Places Network in partnership with Shift Health Accelerator, the Policy Scan is a tool to help communities reduce inequities and strengthen neighborhood revitalization.

  • Cochran, B. Kim, Y., Lewis-Walden, J., Badruzzaman, R., Travis, Z. D., & Flynn, C.
three children sitting on the ground

PHI’s Build Healthy Places Network, created in partnership with Shift Health Accelerator and support provided by the Blue Shield of California Foundation, released the Healthy Neighborhood Investments: A Policy Scan & Strategy Map. 

The Healthy Neighborhood Investments: A Policy Scan & Strategy Map identifies policy actions for advancing health and racial equity through cross-sector investments. It also serves as a tool for community-owned priority setting that reduces inequities and strengthens neighborhood revitalization, with a geographic emphasis on California.

Download the policy scan

See the executive summary

Healthy Neighborhood Investments: A Policy Scan & Strategy Map

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and massive social unrest, fueled by over 400 years of harmful racial oppression and historical trauma particularly against Black and brown people, it is imperative to advance anti-racism in American laws, policies, and regulations to create community-level conditions that support health and opportunity for everyone. Multiple, sustained, and well-coordinated cross-sector efforts are needed to change the policy ecosystem and advance solutions toward racial equity, health equity, and improvement in the social determinants of health.

Revitalizing and repairing healthy neighborhoods through coordinated policy change can address systemic barriers, structural racism, and other root causes of poor health outcomes for low-income communities. We know this is possible because deliberate policy decisions and actions have contributed to the widest gaps in wellbeing and wealth between poor people of color and wealthy white people. Healthy Neighborhood Investments: A Policy Scan & Strategy Map recognizes that partnerships of communities, health systems, community development organizations, and local government are trying to clear the same historical and current policy hurdles in pursuit of aligned goals. These multi-sector partnerships, with careful intention to advance health and racial equity, can bring about policy change and impact the social determinants of health.

PHI’s Build Healthy Places Network and Shift Health Accelerator convened a 38-member policy council to advise the scan and prioritize “belonging and civic muscle” as key component to achieve collective goals for healthier communities. Belonging and civic muscle Is vital for the well-being of individuals and communities as a whole. It’s about having fulfilling relationships and the social supports needed to thrive. More importantly, it’s about being a part of a community and developing the power to co-create a vibrant community.

Goals of the Policy Scan:

  • Healthy Neighborhood Investments CoverFrame pathways and opportunities for community leaders to advocate for policy change by public health, healthcare, policymakers, and community development organizations;
  • Identify policy barriers and ways to overcome them for joint investments in healthy neighborhoods that advance racial and health equity;
  • Identify policies that create a more conducive environment for collaboration across sectors; and
  • Incentivize the health sector to consider community development organizations as important partners in shaping policy and investments in healthy neighborhoods to advance racial and health equity

Charting California’s Path to Racial & Health Equity

In May 2021, PHI’s Build Healthy Places Network sponsored a California statewide and national, virtual Healthy Neighborhood Investment Policy Convening for Advancing Racial and Health Equity. Over 800 leaders from community, healthcare, community development, and other sectors participated in the event with an intention to weave “belonging and civic muscle” into the fabric of policy for racial and health equity—with a focus on California.

Download the convening summary

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Related Resource: Community Reflections on Healthy Neighborhood Policy

Policy is Just a Part of a Journey to Racial Equity: Reflections from Community Leaders

Build Healthy Places Network and Shift Health Accelerator asked two community leaders and two cross-sector policy leaders what their priorities are relative to policy for healthy neighborhood investments. Their answers include: Policy alone is not the path to racial equity; Multi-sector approaches rooted in community engagement are critical to solving the interconnected challenges to health; and The potentially rich policy themes include leaning into belonging and civic muscle first, growing incomes and opportunities to build wealth, reimagining public safety, cultural humility in mental health, prioritizing good food, reducing childhood trauma, and creating accessible housing and transportation.

Read more

Originally published by Build Healthy Places Network

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