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A practitioner’s guide for advancing health equity: Community strategies for preventing chronic disease

The intention of A practitioner’s guide for advancing health equity is to help practitioners and leaders incorporate a health equity view in their collaborations with community organizations. It offers ideas — with stories to illustrate — for how public health organizations can develop competency in the important work of building organizational capacity, engaging communities, developing partnerships and coalitions, and making the case for health equity.

Each of the four sections of the Practitioner’s guide (1. foundational skills, 2. tobacco-free living strategies, 3. healthy food and beverage strategies, and 4. active living strategies) offers examples and lessons learned from diverse communities and organizations. The guide focuses on how public health can improve the places where people live, learn, work and play through changes in three specific arenas: policy, systems, and physical environments. Policy improvements are made through legislation, regulation, and administrative action. Systems improvements change the culture, or social norms, of an entire organization, institution, or system. Environmental improvements change the economic, physical, and social environment of a community. Each section includes a set of questions to stimulate reflection, discussion and ideas.

The guide cautions that without careful planning, design and implementation, interventions can widen health inequity.

Use this resource to:

  • generate ideas and strategies for public health action to stimulate policy, systems, and environmental improvements;
  • learn from the experiences of others in a variety of settings and communities;
  • reflect on how health equity can be further integrated into your work and the priorities of your organization; and
  • find checklists and other tools to help you integrate health equity in planning and strategy development processes.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Community Health. 2013. A practitioner’s guide for advancing health equity: Community strategies for preventing chronic disease. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services.

Tags: Community engagement, Competencies & organizational standards , Healthy public policy, Intersectoral action, Key concepts, Leadership & capacity building, Methods & tools, Modify & orient, Link

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