Being healthy means more than not being sick. Complex social factors and deeply ingrained systemic barriers are such powerful influences that people in some communities will die 20 years earlier than others living just a few miles away. The risks begin at birth and continue across the lifespan because stable housing, good schools, steady jobs, and accessible healthcare are inequitably distributed.
Building a Culture of Health means working together to dismantle structural racism and other barriers so that everyone has the chance to live the healthiest life possible.
Health Should Be a Right, Not a Privilege
RWJF is taking steps to focus on one of the biggest barriers to health in America: structural racism.
While medical care is critically important to health, the conditions in which children, families, single adults, and aging populations live, and the resources and services available to them, also play a decisive role. RWJF’s work promotes a collective understanding of the social determinants of health and how they influence our path to health equity.
Howard County, Maryland, has taken many steps to ensure diverse and equitable leadership and to boost equity—of opportunity, of access to the factors driving health, and of civic participation—among its 325,000 residents.