Communities Driving Health Equity 

A Spotlight Video Series


The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) is proud to present a documentary video series that spotlights local organizations across the U.S. advancing health equity for their communities by addressing the environmental, social, economic, and structural challenges that may impact residents’ health. The videos show that, while challenges are numerous, progress is possible when community members, organizations, funders, and policy makers work together to drive local-level solutions that improve health equity and well-being for all.

Our nation’s health depends largely on the health and well-being of its communities, but many of them don’t have adequate access to jobs, safe and affordable housing, health care, green space, healthy food options, and other things they need to thrive. While biology, genetics, and individual behaviors play a role in people’s health, the socially-driven conditions in which one lives—often referred to as “social determinants of health”—influence and limit individuals’ choices. By taking on these health-limiting factors and developing solutions with partners, communities can help empower residents to grasp their full health potential.

We are proud to present the stories of these three diverse communities that face complex, pervasive challenges but are all making progress in advancing health equity—meaning everyone has the same shot at living a healthy life. While each community needs to develop an approach suited to its own unique needs, our hope is that in sharing these stories, communities facing similar challenges might be inspired and informed to build solutions that are right for them.

Browse the video series below.


People United for Sustainable Housing Buffalo (PUSH Buffalo)

Fighting to Make Affordable Housing a Reality on Buffalo’s West Side

Watch our spotlight video on PUSH Buffalo by clicking below.

Related: Watch a panel discussion that included PUSH Buffalo’s co-founder, Aaron Bartley, discussing community-driven solutions to discrimination in America at a forum hosted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation at the Newseum in Washington, DC on January 16, 2018.

Share This Video! “We have transformed hundreds of dwellings in this community from unhealthy, toxic places to live to quality, affordable housing.” Watch @PUSHBuffalo’s inspiring work: #PromoteHealthEquity

Residents of West Buffalo, NY inhabit some of the oldest houses in the nation. Many live with lead, asbestos, and mold every day. @PUSHBuffalo is helping them take their health, and their homes, back into their own hands:

#PromoteHealthEquity Health inequity arises when people are in situations they cannot change. @PUSHBuffalo is making change possible by assisting residents in renovating and repairing their aging dwellings: #PromoteHealthEquity


Indianapolis Congregation Action Network (IndyCAN), now Faith in Indiana 

Acting collectively for racial and economic equity in Indiana.

Watch our spotlight video on IndyCAN, now known as Faith in Indiana, by clicking below.

Share This Video!

40% of inmates in Marion County jails have a mental health diagnosis. But through @indycanpico’s organizing, criminal justice and support for those with mental health issues now go hand in hand: #PromoteHealthEquity

.@indycanpico is reminding every member of their community that they have the power to fight health inequity. From listening campaigns to research and rallies, watch @indycanpico organize people for a purpose: #PromoteHealthEquity

Individual voices, when organized, become a roar. Watch how @indycanpico empowers clergy, grandmothers, and community members to fight for racial and economic equity in Indiana: #PromoteHealthEquity


Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services (KKV)

Fostering physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health in Honolulu, Hawaii

Watch our spotlight video on KKV by clicking below.

Share This Video!

“You cannot treat health with just medical interventions. We have to treat the whole – the whole community, the whole family.” #kokuakalihivalley is enacting a vision of health that extends beyond the clinic and into the community: #PromoteHealthEquity

“My hope in the long term is that this 100 acres is a place where people coming together to grow food is what we see as health.” #kokuakalihivalley combines health care and culture, such as connecting with the land to create holistic community health:

“As we restore this land to health and productivity, we learn that healing is reciprocal.” –#kokuakalihivalley. See how KKV is moving health equity beyond just the clinic: #PromoteHealthEquity


Additional Resources

  • Learn more about Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equitythe report on communities taking action to address health inequities in the United States, in which these communities are profiled
  • Visit the Health Equity Hub to learn more about the report’s messages and what different stakeholders can do
  • Experience “Visualize Health Equity,” a community art project that called on artists of all kinds to illustrate what health equity looks, sounds, and feels like to them
  • Read Perspectives on Health Equity & Social Determinants of Health, an NAM Special Publication that presents authors’ recommendations to advance the agenda to promote health equity for all
  • Browse Community Health Heroes, an interview series that highlights individuals or groups who are working to advance health and health equity in communities across the nation and their challenges, success stories, and lessons about what has worked



Share This Video Series!

The causes of health inequity are numerous, but so are the solutions. 3 innovative organizations are focusing on the challenges closest to home and creating ripples of hope through their communities: #PromoteHealthEquity

Did you know that where you live can impact your health? See how 3 innovative community organizations are tackling the challenges most affecting their neighbors: #PromoteHealthEquity

Health equity is not out of reach. Watch as 3 inspiring communities work within their neighborhoods to inspire residents, listen to their needs, and take one step at a time toward a future of health for all: #PromoteHealthEquity  

  This video series is a part of the NAM’s Culture of Health Program. 

The National Academy of Medicine’s Culture of Health Program, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is a multiyear collaborative effort to identify strategies to create and sustain conditions that support equitable good health for all Americans. The first five years of the program will produce a series of consensus studies from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, as well as public workshops, community events, and tools for stakeholders. To learn more about the program, please click here. 

Join Our Community

Sign up for NAM email updates