Racism is detrimental to people’s health and well-being, and across the country, there is growing acknowledgment of the impact of racism on the health of individuals and communities. According to a 2022 survey, 24% of all Americans say racial discrimination has an impact on their own health, with higher rates among Black (59%) and Hispanic (45%) Americans.  

Through resolutions, executive orders, and other mechanisms, many local leaders are declaring racism a public health crisis and are committing to addressing systemic health and racial inequities. Leaders are exploring the policies and practices that are most needed to move from commitment to action and how to best use policy to effect meaningful change toward health, racial equity, and justice. 

Policy and Practice Briefs

In the first phase of the initiative, the founding partner organizations identified a suite of policies and practices that are being implemented at the local level to promote racial healing and address social inequities.  

To be included in the suite, each policy or practice must: 

  • Have been successfully implemented in at least one jurisdiction;  
  • Show promise of impact on health and racial equity (via evidence or expert opinion);  
  • Acknowledge and address historic racial injustices and demonstrate meaningful engagement of impacted communities; and  
  • Be under local jurisdictional authority. 

Community of Practice

In its next phase, Healing Through Policy partner organizations will convene and support a cohort of communities to identify, plan actions, and disseminate the local steps needed to pass and implement a subset of curated policies and practices from the suite. The partners will provide technical assistance to communities undertaking these efforts, with the aim to: 

  • Organize groups of people from diverse localities who share common goals for policy and practice adoption/implementation to address racism as a public health crisis; 
  • Deepen communities’ learning and knowledge to collectively advance adoption/implementation; and 
  • Provide a structured and facilitated venue for peer learning and action to achieve impact in localities. 

These communities will have the potential to serve as a model for other localities pursuing work toward racial and health equity.