Health and Healthcare

According to the CDC, Black and Indigenous women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. The racial disparities in diagnosis and treatment are also evidenced in mental health, in addition to the higher prevalence of cancer in Black communities, which gained visibility with the untimely death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020. 

Bias in treatment, disproportionate access to healthcare, and other systemic issues, including environmental factors, result in stark racial disparities in health outcomes of communities of color versus white popu [...]

Analysis and Research

Repairing the Whole: How Reparations Can Address Physical and Mental Health
Trevor Smith
Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ)
Why Is Life Expectancy So Low in Black Neighborhoods?
Andre M. Perry, Carl Romer, and Anthony Barr
‘Health Equity Tourists’: How White Scholars are Colonizing Research on Health Disparities
Usha Lee McFarling
The Racial Implications of Medical Debt: How Moving Toward Universal Health Care and Other Reforms Can Address Them
A. M. Perry, J. Crear-Perry, C. Romer, and N. Adjeiwaa-Manu
Race and Medicine
The New England Journal of Medicine
The Sex Education Expert Speaking Up About Medical Racism
Ananya Garg
YES! Magazine
2017 Health Equity Report: Uncovering the Root Causes of Our Health
Center for Health Equity at Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness
Building Public Health Capacity to Advance Equity: A National Environmental Scan of Tribal, State, and Local Governmental Public Health
National Collaborative for Health Equity
Confronting Institutionalized Racism
Camara Phyllis Jones, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.
Implicit Bias and Health Care Inequities
Brian D. Smedley
Joint Center (JCPES) and Poverty & Race Research Action Council
Intersectionality: Moving Women’s Health Research and Policy Forward
Olena Hankivsky and Renée Cormier
Women’s Health Research Network
Levels of Racism: A Theoretic Framework and a Gardener’s Tale
Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones
American Journal of Public Health
Using “Socially Assigned Race” To Probe White Advantages In Health Status
Camara Phyllis Jones et al.
Ethnicity & Disease

Community Resources

Toward Health and Racial Equity: Findings and Lessons from Building Healthy Communities
F. Farrow, C. Rogers, and J. Henderson-Frakes
Center for the Study of Social Policy; The California Endowment
Toward a Cure: Cities Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis
Tamara E. Holmes
YES! Magazine, Black Lives Issue
Toward a Cure: Cities Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis
Tamara E. Holmes
Health Care Equity Tool Kit for a Winning Policy Strategy
The Praxis Project
Health Equity Guide
Human Impact Partners
PlaceMatters: Ensuring Opportunities for Good Health for All - A Summary of PlaceMatters’ Community Health Equity Reports
Mike Wenger
Joint Center (JCPES)
Promoting Health Equity: A Resource to Help Communities Address Social Determinants of Health
Laura K. Brennan Ramirez, E. Baker, and M. Metzler
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

History and Concepts of Health Inequities

Legislation and Policy

Healing Through Policy: Creating Pathways to Racial Justice
de Beaumont; American Public Health Association; National Collaborative for Health Equity
Advocating for Change: Understanding How to Impact Health Policy
Harry Snyder and Matt Iverson
Center for Healthy Communities and The California Endowment
How Racism Became a Public Health Crisis in Pittsburgh
Brentin Mock
Bloomberg CityLab
Towards Racial Equity through Policy & Assessment: Healing Possible Quorum 100: Recommendations
C. Anneta Arno and T. Benicio Gonzales
Center for Health Equity at Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness

Practices and Tools

Working Principles for Health Justice and Racial Equity
The Praxis Project
The Guide to Advance Racial Justice and Health Equity
Boston Public Health Commission
Working Principles for Health Justice & Racial Equity Organizational Self-Assessment
The Praxis Project
Building Stronger Communities for Better Health
Joint Center (JCPES) and PolicyLink
Centering Race in Health Equity Advocacy: Lessons Learned
Rachel Estrella, Tracy Endo Inouye, and Heather Lewis-Charp
The Colorado Trust; Social Policy Research Associates (SPR)
Filling in the Gaps: A Racial Equity Framework for Successful Implementation of the Affordable Care Act
Alexis Dennis, C. Pearson, and C. Saporta
The Greenlining Institute
Communicating for Health Justice: A Communications Strategy Curriculum for Advancing Health Issues
Makani Themba-Nixon et al.
The Praxis Project; Youth Media Council
Let’s Talk: Universal and Targeted Approaches to Health Equity
Hannah Moffatt and Karen Fish
National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health
Local Health Department Organizational Self-Assessment for Addressing Health Inequities: Toolkit
Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative
Roots of Health Inequity: A Web-Based Course for the Public Health Workforce
National Association of County and City Public Health Officials

Social Determinants of Health

Social Determinants of Health
The Praxis Project
Measures to Advance Health and Opportunity
HOPE Initiative
The Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health
Maria Trent, Danielle G. Dooley, Jacqueline Dougé
Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, AAP News & Journals Gateway
In U.S. Cities, The Health Effects of Past Housing Discrimination Are Plain to See: These City Maps Show the Current Impacts of Redlining From Decades Ago
Maria Godoy
Centering Racial Justice in Policy: One Town at a Time
Tessa Crisman
Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ)
Being Black in America Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
Olga Khazan
The Atlantic
Finding Leverage Over the Social Determinants of Health: Insights from a Study of 33 Health Conversion Foundations
Doug Easterling and Laura McDuffee
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Segregated Spaces, Risky Places: The Effects of Racial Segregation on Health Inequalities
Thomas A. LaVeist, Darrell Gaskin, and Antonio J. Trujillo
Joint Center (JCPES)

“All things share the same breath − the beast, the tree, the man ... the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.”

~ Chief Si'ahl, Dkhw'Duw'Absh Tribe (Chief Seattle, Duwamish Tribe)


The Trauma of Systemic Racism is Killing Black Women – T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison, TED

Also in this section:
  • Addressing Hate and White Supremacy

  • Criminal Justice

  • Education

  • Food Justice

  • Language Justice

  • Reparations

  • Voting Justice and Democracy Building

  • Children, Families, and Youth Development

  • Economic Development

  • Employment and Labor

  • Housing

  • Media and Technology

  • Reproductive Justice

  • Community Planning: Land and Transportation

  • Economic Security

  • Environmental Justice

  • Immigration and Refugee Rights

  • Philanthropy

  • Trauma, Violence, and Healing



In the context of racial equity work, accountability refers to the ways in which individuals and communities hold themselves to their goals and actions, and acknowledge the values and groups to which they are responsible.

To be accountable, one must be visible, with a transparent agenda and process. Invisibility defies examination; it is, in fact, employed in order to avoid detection and examination. Accountability demands commitment. It might be defined as “what kicks in when convenience runs out.” Accountability requires some sense of urgency and becoming a true stakeholder in the outcome. Accountability can be externally imposed (legal or organizational requirements), or internally applied (moral, relational, faith-based, or recognized as some combination of the two) on a continuum from the institutional and organizational level to the individual level. From a relational point of view, accountability is not always doing it right. Sometimes it’s really about what happens after it’s done wrong.

SOURCE:  Accountability and White Anti-Racist Organizing: Stories from Our Work, Bonnie Berman Cushing with Lila Cabbil, Margery Freeman, Jeff Hitchcock, and Kimberly Richards (2010). 

Related Resources:  Accountability

Location: PLAN / Change Process

Black Lives Matter

A political movement to address systemic and state violence against African Americans. Per the Black Lives Matter organizers: “In 2013, three radical Black organizers—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi—created a Black-centered political will and movement building project called #BlackLivesMatter. It was in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman. The project is now a member-led global network of more than 40 chapters. [Black Lives Matter] members organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.” 

SOURCE:  Black Lives Matter, “Herstory” (accessed 7 October 2019).


When people act to perpetuate oppression or prevent others from working to eliminate oppression. 

Example: Able-bodied people who object to strategies for making buildings accessible because of the expense.

SOURCE:  Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook, edited by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin (Routledge, 1997).

Institutional Racism

Institutional racism refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as people of color.


  • Government policies that explicitly restricted the ability of people to get loans to buy or improve their homes in neighborhoods with high concentrations of African Americans (also known as “red-lining”).

  • City sanitation department policies that concentrate trash transfer stations and other environmental hazards disproportionately in communities of color.

SOURCE:  Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building by Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens, and Barbara Major (2005).

Related Resources:  Racism (scroll down alphabetically to the box for “Institutional Racism”)

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

Movement Building

Movement building is the effort of social change agents to engage power holders and the broader society in addressing a systemic problem or injustice while promoting an alternative vision or solution. Movement building requires a range of intersecting approaches through a set of distinct stages over a long-term period of time. Through movement building, organizers can:

  • Propose solutions to the root causes of social problems.

  • Enable people to exercise their collective power.

  • Humanize groups that have been denied basic human rights and improve conditions for the groups affected.

  • Create structural change by building something larger than a particular organization or campaign.

  • Promote visions and values for society based on fairness, justice, and democracy.

SOURCE:  Julie Quiroz-Martinez, From the Roots: Building the Power of Communities of Color to Challenge Structural Racism (Akonadi Foundation, 2010), citing the Movement Strategy Center, which offers these further definitions.

Related Resources:  Movement Building

Location: PLAN / Change Process


The systematic subjugation of one social group by a more powerful social group for the social, economic, and political benefit of the more powerful social group. Rita Hardiman and Bailey Jackson state that oppression exists when the following 4 conditions are found:

  • the oppressor group has the power to define reality for themselves and others,

  • the target groups take in and internalize the negative messages about them and end up cooperating with the oppressors (thinking and acting like them),

  • genocide, harassment, and discrimination are systematic and institutionalized, so that individuals are not necessary to keep it going, and

  • members of both the oppressor and target groups are socialized to play their roles as normal and correct.

Oppression = Power + Prejudice

SOURCE:  What Is Racism?” − Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) web workbook.

Racial Inequity

Racial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing, such as the percentages of each ethnic group in terms of dropout rates, single family home ownership, access to healthcare, etc.

SOURCE:  Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist, Random House, 2019.

Racist Policies

A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between or among racial groups. Policies are written and unwritten laws, rules, procedures, processes, regulations, and guidelines that govern people. There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups. Racist policies are also expressed through other terms such as “structural racism” or “systemic racism”. Racism itself is institutional, structural, and systemic.

SOURCE:  Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist, Random House, 2019.

Related Resources:  Laws and Policies

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / History of Racism and Movements

For specific topics, also see PLAN / Issues


States have a legal duty to acknowledge and address widespread or systematic human rights violations, in cases where the state caused the violations or did not seriously try to prevent them. Reparations initiatives seek to address the harms caused by these violations. They can take the form of compensating for the losses suffered, which helps overcome some of the consequences of abuse. They can also be future oriented—providing rehabilitation and a better life to victims—and help to change the underlying causes of abuse. Reparations publicly affirm that victims are rights-holders entitled to redress.

SOURCE:  International Center for Transitional Justice.

Related Resources:  Reparations

Location: PLAN / Issues

Structural Racism

  1. The normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal – that routinely advantage Whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. Structural racism encompasses the entire system of White domination, diffused and infused in all aspects of society including its history, culture, politics, economics, and entire social fabric. Structural racism is more difficult to locate in a particular institution because it involves the reinforcing effects of multiple institutions and cultural norms, past and present, continually reproducing old and producing new forms of racism. Structural racism is the most profound and pervasive form of racism – all other forms of racism emerge from structural racism.

  2. For example, we can see structural racism in the many institutional, cultural, and structural factors that contribute to lower life expectancy for African American and Native American men, compared to white men. These include higher exposure to environmental toxins, dangerous jobs and unhealthy housing stock, higher exposure to and more lethal consequences for reacting to violence, stress, and racism, lower rates of health care coverage, access, and quality of care, and systematic refusal by the nation to fix these things.


  1. Chronic Disparity: Strong and Pervasive Evidence of Racial Inequalities by Keith Lawrence, Aspen Institute on Community Change, and Terry Keleher, Applied Research Center, for the Race and Public Policy Conference (2004).

  2. Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building by Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens, and Barbara Major (2005).

Related Resources:  Structural Racism

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

White Supremacy

The idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is ever present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worth less), immoral, bad, and inhuman and “undeserving.” Drawing from critical race theory, the term “white supremacy” also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy structural advantage and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level.

SOURCE: “What Is Racism?” − Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) web workbook.

Related Resources:  System of White Supremacy and White Privilege and Addressing Hate and White Supremacy

Locations: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts and PLAN / Issues