The “Community Drivers of Health” papers focus on food, housing and transportation and build on policy discussions held by public health and health care experts assembled by APHA, AcademyHealth and Kaiser Permanente. The series offers an important look at public policy solutions that local and national leaders are pursuing to improve public health during a time of unprecedented challenges:
- Food Security: A Community Driver of Health underscores how the lack of access to healthy, affordable foods is an enduring problem that the coronavirus pandemic turned into a national emergency. Improving food security depends on prioritizing low-income communities and communities of color with policies like healthy food financing initiatives and more.
- Housing Affordability and Quality: A Community Driver of Health highlights many approaches that can increase housing stability, support healthier home environments, improve health and increase health equity. Potential solutions include tax credits and rental assistance, community land trusts, fair lending practices, smoke-free multi-unit housing and housing repair support.
- Transportation: A Community Driver of Health explains how transportation decisions affect everyone. Focusing on healthy community planning, street design and land use policies, and engaging stakeholders in decisionmaking, can help people better access physical activity, jobs, school, health care and other essential services.
“We know that achieving health and well-being happens outside the doctor’s office through creating communities that offer access to healthy foods, affordable and quality housing and transportation systems that put people in the center of the planning,” said Susan Polan, APHA’s associate executive director of Public Affairs and Advocacy. “These papers review the most recent data and offer policy solutions that can assure all people in all communities have an opportunity for health. APHA is proud to partner with these organizations to offer these cutting-edge papers to the health and health care communities, the public and policymakers.”
“This series of policy papers offers comprehensive and timely analyses of some of the most pressing social and economic conditions that impact health,” said Dr. Margo Edmunds, AcademyHealth’s vice president of Evidence Generation and Translation. “Drawing on the expertise of multi-disciplinary, multi-sector teams, these papers summarize evidence-based policy opportunities and actions to improve health and health care for all.”
“We know social factors like having healthy meals, a safe place to live and transportation are key to achieving good health for individuals and populations,” said Dr. David Grossman, interim senior vice president of Social and Community Health for Kaiser Permanente. “We have a responsibility to care for patients’ social well-being in addition to their physical and mental health, especially now when COVID-19 and other events have revealed deep inequities in our communities.”
Download the series here.