Winter Newsletter

What’s new at ChangeLab Solutions?

Greetings from Our CEO

Sarah de Guia

At the beginning of the year, many of us set goals or make resolutions to make improvements such as eating better or exercising more. We may think about the choices that we make and how we can create practices to make better choices. But what if we didn’t have a choice about the type of food that we eat or the ability to exercise safely? Some communities do not have these options — because we haven’t made the investments or planned for better health for all.

Having a resolution is good. It helps us to focus on areas for improvement. But what if we elevated the choices and improvements we want to make from the individual level to the community level? What if we set a goal to replace unhealthy, unfair policies with new ones that prioritize health and equity for all? We have the opportunity — and the responsibility — to reshape our society for the better through innovative policy approaches like those highlighted in our guide Long-Range Planning for Health, Equity, & Prosperity. ChangeLab Solutions is committed to doing this work. Please keep reading below to learn about new resources that ChangeLab Solutions has to offer.

With hope and gratitude,

Sarah de Guia, JD
CEO, ChangeLab Solutions


Success Story: Roanoke, Virginia

Planning for Health Equity in Appalachia

Residents know firsthand about how to improve the communities where they live. Yet local leaders may not always have the information they require to best respond to community needs. When it comes to improving health equity, partnerships between community institutions are often best situated to create long-lasting solutions.

ChangeLab Solutions partnered with Roanoke College, Freedom First Credit Union, and Roanoke’s city planning department to help ensure that equity and health considerations are woven into the City of Roanoke’s comprehensive plan for the next 20 years of growth and development. As a result, the city’s policy process now reflects the perceptions and needs of community members. Read the full story.


Planning for Health, Equity & Prosperity

Cover page of the Long-Range Planning for Health, Equity & Prosperity guide

The neighborhoods where people live, work, learn, and play profoundly affect their health. But the way we’ve planned and built our communities has made some places much healthier than others, widening disparities in health and wealth.

ChangeLab Solutions has created a new guide, Long-Range Planning for Health, Equity & Prosperity: A Primer for Local Governments, to provide planners, local leaders, and community advocates with the information they need to prioritize health and equity in their planning work.


Equity First: Assessing the Role of Preemption in Public Health

Equity-First Approach to Assessing Preemption

Each level of government (federal, state, local) has authority over certain types of laws or resources. Preemption is a legal doctrine in which a higher level of government may limit or even eliminate the power of a lower level of government to regulate a specific issue. Preemption is sometimes used by the federal government or states to advance civil rights and counteract current and historical inequities. However, several state legislatures have been using preemption to hinder local policies aimed at decreasing inequities in health and opportunity.

A new journal article authored by ChangeLab Solutions staff and Jennifer Karas Montez from Syracuse University argues for development of an equity-first framework that can help establish evidence-based criteria for evaluating whether preemption will enhance or inhibit health equity. You can read the full journal article on our website.


Leveraging Juvenile Justice Food Environments to Advance Health Equity

Leveraging Juvenile Justice Food Environments to Advance Health Equity

Access to nutritious food is important for children’s health and sets the stage for a healthier life overall. Children who do not have access to healthy food have higher rates of chronic disease. Thus, the food environment within juvenile justice facilities is crucial for the health of incarcerated youth during incarceration and over the course of their lifetime.

A new research brief — written by ChangeLab Solutions with support from Healthy Eating Research, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — describes the main components of juvenile justice food environments and outlines the policies and regulations that shape them at federal, state, and local levels. Learn more.


Thank You to Ben Winig

Ben Winig

Please join us in thanking vice president of law & policy Benjamin D. Winig for almost 9 years of service at ChangeLab Solutions. During his tenure, Ben contributed his expertise to much of our healthy land use and planning work and helped strengthen our legal team. He also provided a great deal of strategic technical assistance and support to ChangeLab Solutions’ many partners across the country.

Although we will miss Ben, we wish him luck as he enters a new chapter in his life and hope to continue working with him in the future.