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Episode 1: Health Equity

Building healthy, equitable communities through equitable laws & policies

Good Governance

What are the elements of a healthy and equitable community? How do we create conditions in which all children and families can thrive?

In April 2018, ChangeLab Solutions launched the Building Healthy, Equitable Communities Series—a virtual space for exploring the topic of health equity. This series offers 6 strategic trainings that examine how law and policy coupled with community power can catalyze new opportunities for health equity.

Below is Episode 1, which discusses health equity as a principle and a practice. You can read our blog post about common local laws that may be doing more harm than good, watch a webinar that connects the dots between health equity and policy, or listen to our panel of health equity experts respond directly to questions from participants and engage one another in conversation.

"If we really want to advance health equity, we need to address power and oppression, and that's a fundamental underlying piece of this work."
- Jonathan Heller, co-director, Human Impact Partners

Blog post

Most laws are adopted to keep our communities healthy and safe. But even the most well-intentioned laws can backfire and lead to absurd or unjust outcomes. This blog post outlines 10 types of local laws that may seem like a good idea but can be surprisingly harmful, and she provides resources so that readers can learn more or take action. Read our blog post: 10 Local Laws That May Be Doing More Harm Than Good


What does health equity mean in the context of policy? In this webinar, we examined how communities can leverage policy to improve health outcomes for all, especially those who are most underserved by institutions. Specifically, we discussed what health equity means, how to bring a health equity approach to law and policy, the role of government in promoting and protecting health equity, and how to effect and sustain equitable policy change.

You will also hear insights from JayVon Muhammad, CEO of Marin City Health and Wellness Center, on how an extensive history of unjust policies and systems has produced both trauma and resilience in the African American community, and what that means for running a community health clinic in Marin City.

Watch our webinar or download the slides: Building Healthy, Equitable Communities Through Equitable Laws & Policies

Expert Panel

We convened a virtual panel of health equity innovators to engage each other in conversation and answer questions from participants. In this session, we heard from

  • Aysha Pamukcu (moderator), senior staff attorney, ChangeLab Solutions
  • Jonathan Heller, co-director, Human Impact Partners
  • Mary Lee, deputy director, PolicyLink
  • Sarah de Guia, executive director, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network

Listen to our expert panel: Continued Conversation About Health Equity

Episode 1 is only the beginning. To learn more about other elements of a healthy, equitable community, check out the rest of the episodes in the Building Healthy, Equitable Communities Series.