Community-Driven Health Equity Action Plans
The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Culture of Health Program is proud to present a model for developing Community-Driven Health Equity Action Plans. The NAM piloted the model in collaboration with five diverse communities across the United States from 2018 to 2019. This page contains links to each pilot community’s completed plan, as well as lessons learned from the pilot project.
Overview of the Model
Health equity means everyone has a fair shot at living the healthiest life possible. Health equity is fundamental to living a good life and building a vibrant society. All actors in society—residents and community-based organizations, businesses, state and local government, anchor and faith-based institutions—have the power to promote health equity. Identifying strategies to advance health equity is the mission of the NAM’s Culture of Health Program.
The Culture of Health Program created a model for developing Community-Driven Health Equity Action Plans as a tool for communities interested in advancing health equity at the community level. A Community-Driven Health Equity Action Plan is meant to lay the groundwork for communities to take action on a health equity agenda that addresses a priority of the community. We hope communities and organizations ultimately use the model to support equitable good health among local residents across the country.
The model provides a framework to strategize how to reduce health inequities at the community level in seven steps:
- Vision and goals: Decide what you want to achieve over the long term and the steps to move towards that vision
- Community context: Determine the unique challenges that your community faces as well as the unique opportunities that exist in your community that can be leveraged to achieve your vision
- Research grounding: Ground your plan in the evidence base
- Strategies and tactics: Strategize how your team will accomplish the goals identified for your plan
- Stakeholders: Decide who you will need to engage for plan development, uptake, and implementation
- Timeline: Develop a time frame for developing, rolling out, and implementing your plan
- Sustainability: Consider communications, potential resources to sustain your plan, and the evaluation of your success
In addition to a seven-step guide to fill out the framework, the model encompasses the following elements that support use of the guide to develop Community-Driven Health Equity Action Plans:
- An example timeline, which lays out monthly deliverables from the NAM pilot project
- An outline for a two-page summary document, in order to communicate a condensed version of a plan
- Links to related resources, including National Academies reports and NAM meeting pages
- Takeaways from the NAM pilot project, including community leader quotes and calls to action
- Pilot community plans and websites, serving as detailed examples for others to advance health equity in their communities
Our Lessons Learned page includes additional information about these elements, as well as details about the NAM’s role as a facilitator during the pilot project.
Background of the Model
Developing the Model
The 2017 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (National Academies) report Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity outlines three key domains for advancing health equity at the community level: 1) building shared vision and values, 2) community capacity, and 3) multi-sector collaboration. The report emphasizes the power that lies in communities and highlights that communities exist in a mix of national-, state-, and local-level policies, forces, and programs.
In follow-up to the Communities in Action report, the NAM’s Culture of Health Program visited communities across the country to understand their goals and programs to advance health equity. Based on learnings from these communities, a logic model previously designed and piloted by NAM as part of its B8 State Pathways to Implementation Project, and scientific evidence from Communities in Action and other National Academies reports, the Culture of Health Program created a model for developing Community-Driven Health Equity Action Plans. The model is intended to elevate the community voice and expertise, respond to the diversity of communities, and focus on multi-sectoral and multilevel collaborations and approaches. The goals of the model are to:
- Advance recommendations from National Academies consensus studies
- Bridge research to action by creating networks and building capacity at the local and state level
- Convene stakeholders at national, state, and local levels to lay the groundwork for action by providing resources and technical assistance; building multisector public-private partnerships; and encouraging organizations and policymakers to take leadership roles in advancing health equity
Piloting the Model
The NAM served as a neutral convener for a set of communities and community organizations committed to advancing health equity locally:
- Gorge Health Equity Collaborative
- Magnolia Community Initiative
- United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County
- WE ACT for Environmental Justice
- Williamson Health and Wellness Center
These five community teams agreed to explore the opportunities and barriers they face in advancing health equity at the community level as well as address health inequities locally through the creation of Community-Driven Health Equity Action Plans. Over the course of 18 months, the diverse community teams piloted the model, with the NAM as a facilitator. At the time, the pilot project was referred to as the Enhanced Incubation program.
In addition to providing materials for the model, the NAM coordinated in-person meetings, monthly calls, and resource sharing to facilitate the pilot community teams’ use of the model to develop Community-Driven Health Equity Action Plans. Other communities may want to consider the use of a facilitator as they develop their own plans. For detailed information about the NAM’s role as a facilitator during the pilot project, visit our Lessons Learned page.
The output of the model is Community-Driven Health Equity Action Plans – uniquely designed by communities, for communities. Each plan identifies a team’s goals, community context, tactics, stakeholders, timeline, and more. The plan can be as long as is necessary to complete the model’s seven-component framework. It can also be condensed into a two-page summary document for succinct communication to a target audience.
The communities that developed plans as part of the NAM pilot project have agreed to share their plans or two-page plan summaries as detailed examples for other communities or organizations interested in creating or sustaining plans to advance health equity. Browse the plans in the section below.
Pilot Community-Driven Health Equity Action Plans
The NAM served as a facilitator for the communities piloting the model, ensuring coordination and continued knowledge-sharing throughout the process. However, all aspects of the plans summarized below are owned by the communities. Plans are not products of and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NAM or the National Academies. The teams’ next steps are to implement and carry out their action plans to advance health equity locally.
Gorge Health Equity Collaborative: Columbia Gorge Region, OR and WA
Based in the Columbia Gorge region located between Oregon and Washington, the Gorge Health Equity Collaborative created a plan to help local agencies develop a better understanding of equity, assess and understand where each agency is on its journey toward equity, and identify supports and resources to adopt equitable policies and practices.
Magnolia Community Initiative: Los Angeles, CA
In partnership with resident leaders in Central Los Angeles, CA, the Magnolia Community Initiative developed a plan to co-design a community wellness survey to capture residents’ perceptions of their neighborhood context to effectively evaluate the impact of their current strategies on population health outcomes.
United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County: San Antonio, TX
The United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County developed a plan to work with multisector partners to improve the well-being of children ages 0 to 8, specifically by preventing child abuse and increasing access to prenatal care.
WE ACT for Environmental Justice: West Harlem, NY
WE ACT for Environmental Justice developed a plan to create a bi-directional understanding between hospitals, community-based organizations, and community members about opportunities for distributing and maximizing hospital community benefit dollars to better serve community needs.
Williamson Health and Wellness Center: Williamson, WV
The Williamson Health and Wellness Center developed a plan to launch a collaborative, community-driven planning process to foster shared leadership and increase buy-in from community representatives, partners, and stakeholders to reduce health inequities in their community.
Share the Model
Use these sample tweets and graphics to share the model for developing Community-Driven Health Equity Action Plans across your networks!
- Tweet this! .@theNAMedicine presents a new model for developing Community-Driven Health Equity Action Plans as a resource for those advancing health equity at the community level. Learn more: nam.edu/HealthEquityActionPlans #PromoteHealthEquity
- Tweet this! New @theNAMedicine model is a resource for developing Community-Driven Health Equity Action Plans – uniquely designed by communities, for communities. Learn more: nam.edu/HealthEquityActionPlans #PromoteHealthEquity
- Tweet this! See how communities are using the 7-step framework of a @theNAMedicine model to strategically plan how to advance health equity locally: nam.edu/HealthEquityActionPlans #PromoteHealthEquity
Share Your Experience Using the Model
If you have used this model to inform the development of your own Community-Driven Health Equity Action Plan, take a moment to tell us about your experience. Your insights will help inform the future work of the NAM Culture of Health Program and improve our processes.