County by County Blog

Project updates, commentaries, events and news about health across the nation from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps team.

Investigating new ways to support conditions for thriving communities

Publication date
February 20, 2024

Since its start, County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR&R) has been committed to providing data to understand what’s driving health in communities and supporting action so that everyone can live long and well. Our model supports growing recognition of the importance of the social determinants of health — like opportunities for good-paying jobs, availability of nutritious food and access to quality education.  

At CHR&R, we are dedicated to expanding our understanding of the forces that shape health and equity, and how we can realize change. That’s why this year we are turning our attention to the role of power and the structures that shape community conditions.  

These structural determinants of health show up in society’s written and unwritten rules. They create and maintain advantages for some and disadvantages for others. These rules extend to laws, policies, institutional practices and the ways resources are shared and public money is spent. As such, supporting healthy communities goes beyond decisions about social and economic conditions like affordable housing, living-wage employment, or quality education; it requires broad input and the power to shift mindsets.    

We know that creating opportunities for people to make healthy choices is part of supporting healthy communities. Communities can also create conditions for inclusive decision-making for the greater good. Doing so requires shifting power from just a few so that everyone has a say in their future. Valuing everyone and breaking down barriers to participation in decision-making can improve everyone’s health. Our lives and fates are interdependent. We can achieve health equity when we all work together.  

CHR&R remains committed to learning with others in the field, in service of health, equity and social solidarity. In the months ahead, we will be working to curate new evidence resources, sharpen our data tools, and advance narrative strategies that can transform what we think is possible.  

CHR&R’s annual national findings report and snapshot look at health and equity in nearly every county in the country reflect our commitment to assuring that all people and places have what they need to thrive.  

Look for our Annual Data Release in March and join us, together, in working toward better health for everyone.

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