Health Equity Policy Toolkit

December 20, 2022

ASTHO Health Equity Policy Toolkit 2022 coverAchieving health equity reduces harm to people who have been marginalized and increases life expectancy and quality of life for everyone. Current health inequities can be traced to policy choices that negatively impact (or “disenfranchise”) communities, such as racist redlining policies and the traumatic historical practice of sending Native and Indigenous youth to boarding schools. Similarly, healthcare payment policies and a strained workforce result in geographic health disparities with more than 170 rural counties lacking health system infrastructure such as a rural health clinic, Federally Qualified Health Center, or critical care hospital.

Recognizing that past policy choices across all levels of government resulted in an inequitable system and structural discrimination allows strategic amplification across multi-sector partners to address these historical wrongs and the resulting inequities. Public health leaders have an opportunity to support policies that center the needs of historically marginalized, disenfranchised, and underinvested communities to achieve health equity.

This toolkit is designed to support public health leaders in leveraging the policy development process to achieve health equity in their jurisdiction.