NHP reports focus on healthcare quality and outcomes, but many factors (often called social determinants of health) can shape neighborhood health. Forming a complete picture of the health of a neighborhood requires recognizing:
- The existence of social inequities (a lack of fairness or justice) based on race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, country or origin etc.
- Inequities are reinforced by policies, and practices
- Policies and practices impact living conditions like employment and housing
- Living conditions and exposure to trauma can influence substance use and other health risk behaviors
- Inequities, policies, practices, living conditions, and risk behaviors all contribute to access and use of healthcare
We recommend using the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII) framework to fully examine the links between social inequities and health.
Asking questions can also be a helpful way to get started. The answers may help you identify the root causes that contribute to neighborhood health. Some questions to consider include:
- Do all residents have a fair chance to get a good job and make a livable wage?
- Do all residents have access to safe, affordable housing?
- Are toxins like lead, or other hazards present in this neighborhood that could lead to poor health?
- Are all residents able to receive quality medical care? What barriers may be preventing this?
- Do all residents have convenient access to nutritious, affordable food options?
- Are there safe spaces for residents to exercise and be active?
- How have disease rates changed over time for this neighborhood? Are they the same or different than other neighborhoods?
- Do many residents in the neighborhood experience stress regularly, such as from discrimination on based on their race, ethnicity sex, sexual orientation, country or origin?
- Are there older residents without families nearby who might have issues with social isolation?
- Do residents have dangerous jobs such as roofing or steel work?
- Is there affordable and accessible public transportation in the neighborhood?
Exploring local data may help you answer these questions. We have provided national and Wisconsin data resources below to help you get started.
CDC Social Vulnerability Index
Housing and Transportation Affordability Index
Wisconsin Outdoor Opportunity Map