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Driver - Disparities in Opportunity
Disparities in Opportunity
Inequitable access to quality education and economic opportunities creates fundamental barriers to healthy living in childhood, in working life, and for future generations.
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About this driver of inequity

School environments, level of education, and access to high-paying jobs are all factors affecting wealth and health that can compound across entire communities. Inequities in opportunities contribute to the continued widening of gaps in wealth and health between underserved communities and wealthier ones.

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Strategies to address disparities in opportunity:


Improve the school learning experience in low-income neighborhoods

Ensure that all children have the tools, resources, and support they need to learn, thrive, and lead healthy lives — for example, by enacting school wellness policies and improving broadband access.


Make schools safe, equitable places to learn

Avoid unfairly penalizing students who live in poor neighborhoods or who have health, learning, or psychosocial challenges — for example, by implementing trauma-informed school discipline or restorative justice policies.


Ensure access to food and medical care

Ensure access to good nutrition and health care, starting at conception. Develop strategies to improve access to healthy food.

Related Resource

Resources for Change

Disparities in opportunity can occur within institutions or in the wider community; solutions must be scaled and focused accordingly.

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Success Stories

Overcoming disparities in opportunity often means creating collaborative partnerships that bring complementary strengths and a diversity of perspectives to the table.

BUILD Success Story

BUILDing Cross-Sector Partnerships for Health

ChangeLab Solutions provides technical assistance to cross-sector teams in 18 US cities through The BUILD Health Challenge®, bridging disparities in opportunities for partners seeking to boost food access, maternal health, and affordable housing.

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New Rhode Island Law Says “No” to Junk Food Marketing in Schools

ChangeLab Solutions’ model law and technical assistance helped school health advocates oppose sugary drink companies and pass legislation to prohibit marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to school children in Rhode Island.

Nourishing Health Equity

Nourishing Health Equity: A New Jersey Health Care System Tackles Food Insecurity

New Jersey's largest health care system confronts the root causes of food insecurity by focusing on community assets, leveraging federal benefits, building residents’ capacity to make change, and exploring policy options.

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Get started with equitable policymaking!

For more ways to uproot the drivers of health inequity, download our updated guide, Strategies for Equitable Policymaking, which offers legal and policy strategies to create systemic change.

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ChangeLab Solutions would love to hear from you. Please share your takeaways, questions, concerns, examples, or experiences related to undoing the drivers of inequity.