Foundational Practices for Health Equity - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Foundational Practices for Health Equity

Developed in Partnership with the Region V Social Determinants of Health Team of the Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) and the Health Resources and Services Administration

About this Resource
When to Use It
Things to Consider
Use this Resource

Practices Addressed

Go directly to this resource: Foundational Practices for Health Equity (PDF)

See also: WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health: Conceptual Framework (interactive learning tool). In this interactive learning tool, the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health Framework is explained in a practical way for multiple audiences. The tool can be used by both individuals and groups to better understand and use the framework in their practice to advance health equity. The Region V Social Determinants of Health Team acknowledges the assistance of Adam Judge and the de Beaumont Foundation in the development of this learning module.


About Foundational Practices for Health Equity

This Learning and Action Tool was developed to assist state public health organizations to:

  • Introduce a set of foundational practices to advance health equity within an organization and with partners
  • Identify and document the organization’s current capabilities and practices against seven practices that provide a solid foundation for public health to advance health equity
  • Track improvements and changes in capabilities and practices

The Learning and Action Tool begins with an overview of a framework developed by the Commission on Social Determinants of Health and the World Health Organization. This framework shows the connections between structural determinants of health and health outcomes.

The authors articulate seven foundational practices for addressing these determinants and advancing health equity. These are:

  1. Expand the understanding of health in words and action
  2. Assess and influence the policy context
  3. Lead with an equity focus
  4. Use data to advance health equity
  5. Advance health equity through continuous learning
  6. Support successful partnerships and strengthen community capacity
  7. Assure strategic and targeted use of resources

There are distinct sections in the document that describe and define each foundational practice and guide the reader in assessing their organization’s engagement within it.


When to Use

The Learning and Action Tool can be used as a planning tool to assess and improve a state health department’s ability to advance health equity.

You can also get ideas for action steps that you might take within your organization by looking at the key questions posed under each suggested organizational capability.

You might use excerpts of the sections for focused conversations with staff or community partners.

The authors also provide suggestions for how to use the WHO framework to identify contributing factors to inequities in specific health outcomes. Appendix A provides a specific application related to infant mortality.


Things to Consider

The authors indicate that the assessment is best completed by a team of individuals who understand the organization’s structures and functions.

The entire Learning and Action Tool is comprehensive and may take considerable time to complete. Organizations may want to assess and implement action steps for one foundational practice over a period of time rather than complete the full assessment if time is limited.


Use This Resource

Foundational Practices for Health Equity (PDF)


Practices Addressed by This Resource

Img   Equip staff
Img   Show organizational commitment