This resource guide from PolicyLink highlights how health equity goals can be incorporated into the federally-funded Promise Neighborhoods program. The Promise Neighborhoods program, established in 2010, seeks to create a comprehensive pipeline of supports in the nation’s most distressed communities to make certain that children reach their full potential. Inspired by the model of the Harlem Children’s Zone, Promise Neighborhoods wrap children in high-quality, coordinated health, social, community, and educational support from cradle to college to career. Advancing health equity closely aligns with the Promise Neighborhoods approach of coordinating the strengths and resources of a community—schools, health centers, housing, employers, community institutions, and community members—to achieve results for children and families so that they are able to access health care, healthy foods, opportunities for physical activity, safe schools and communities, and high-quality experiences that foster healthy cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional development. There are now Promise Neighborhoods funded in 20 states and the District of Columbia.
A health equity lens allows communities to use place-based strategies to create healthy, thriving communities that provide a full array of supports and opportunities for children and families. Four key factors have been identified that directly and indirectly impact health equity: economic, social, physical, and service environments. Environments that offer protective supports, such as social networks, can help counter the negative effects of marginalization, stress, and trauma.
The guide includes profiles of health equity strategies being used in several Promise Neighborhoods and summarizes strategies for community and stakeholder engagement and co-development and implementation of health equity strategies. The resource guide was funded by The California Endowment.