Back to Overview

Driver - Structural Discrimination
Structural Discrimination
Structural discrimination operates through policies, cultural norms, and institutional practices, creating interlocking systems of oppression that shape individual experience across multiple dimensions of identity such as race, gender, sexual orientation, social class, and immigration status.
Structural discrimination Redline Feature
About this driver of inequity

Structural discrimination operates as a macro-level driver that influences the other four fundamental drivers of health inequity. Structural racism is one form of discrimination. Policies, practices, and other norms reinforce each other, forming a system and a culture that allows privileges associated with whiteness to endure and adapt over time.

Blueprint Icon

Strategies to address structural discrimination:


Reduce racial and socioeconomic segregation

Prevent housing and job displacement from driving racial and income segregation – for example, by enacting land-use or affordable housing finance regulations.


Ensure equitable enforcement of health policies

Incorporate equity-informed enforcement at all stages of public health policymaking, to help break the cycles of injustice and inequitable health outcomes experienced by underserved communities.


Eliminate institutional discrimination

Prevent biased policy decision making and implementation through protocols that require equity analysis or through staff training on equity, bias, and cultural sensitivity.

Drivers - Related Resources v3

Resources for Change

Confronting structural discrimination requires equitable policy interventions and tools that can transform unjust systems and structures.

Success Story Icon

Success Stories

ChangeLab Solutions partners with communities, organizations, and academic institutions across the United States to tackle the structural discrimination embedded in governments and the private sector.

Rural Story Hero - Michel Curi - Flickr

Promoting Health Equity in Rural Communities

We work with rural communities on policy initiatives to address upstream drivers of health inequity. Learn how our partnerships are advancing community health, racial equity, and equitable economic development across rural America.

Exploring Equitable Planning

Exploring Equitable Planning Solutions Through Mapping

Visually representing the impact of policies past and present, like redlining, can help us better grasp the causal pathways between policy actions and results, allowing us to more effectively confront structural discrimination.

Youth workshop presented by GHKC’s co-chair Carol Smathers

Columbus Takes a Stand for Kids’ Health

Latino and African American children consume more sugary drinks than white children, likely as a result of marketing campaigns by food and beverage companies that target children of color. ChangeLab Solutions supported Columbus’s multi-sector coalition with strategies to reduce consumption of unhealthy foods and counteract structural discrimination within the food system.

Blueprint Companion CTA
Blueprint Icon
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.

Share With Us Icon

Share with us

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