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Learning Together: A practice framework for building organizational capacity for health equity

Cette ressource est également disponible en français.

The practice framework is part of a series of knowledge products to be written to support the Organizational Capacity Iniaitive, which is the second iteration of the NCCDH’s Learning Together series. The first Learning Together series offered resources related to population health status reporting and was released in 2012.

Increasing capacity to incorporate health equity

Drawing on literature on existing frameworks, learning circle discussions and interventions at practitioner, organization and system levels, this document describes a framework consisting of eight interrelated components:

  • Lead and govern with equity
  • Develop a culture of equity
  • Fund health equity programs and policies
  • Build a robust and competent team
  • Generate and use knowledge and information to drive equity
  • Build multisectoral and community relationships to enhance action on the SDH
  • Design equitable infrastructure and spaces
  • Systems boundaries and size.

This resource explores how social and political contexts outside of the organization, including societal norms and government infrastructure, generate, influence and shape health inequities and an organization’s capacity to address them. This framework guides the reader through nuanced considerations for incorporating equity-focused approaches into new and existing processes.

The framework also builds on knowledge of how organizations change while considering complexities, context, existing processes and desired outcomes.  


Use this resource to

  • identify areas where your organization needs to build capacity for action on health equity;
  • develop a plan to increase capacity for health equity action at practitioner, organization and system levels; and
  • learn more about changing interconnected elements within your organization.


View other resources from our Organizational Capacity Initiative

Related resources

Building a culture of equity in Canadian public health: An environmental scan (2018)

Common agenda for public health action on health equity (2016)

The Path Taken: Developing organizational capacity for improving health equity in four Ontario health units (2015)

Webinar recording: Disruptive opportunities to enhance capacity for equity-oriented action in the health sector (2020) (English only)

Webinar recording: The anatomy of a health equity–oriented organization: Insights on organizational capacity (2019) (English only)


National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. (2020). A Practice Framework for Building Organizational Capacity for Health Equity. Antigonish, NS: NCCDH, St. Francis Xavier University.

Tags: Leadership & capacity building, Methods & tools, Organizational capacity, Document, Tool, Learning Together