Social and economic factors such as access to safe and affordable housing, good-paying jobs, quality educational opportunities, healthy food and convenient transportation options have a greater impact on health than genetics and behavioral factors we typically associate with good health. Yet, our society has mostly focused on treating diseases rather than preventing people from getting sick in the first place. Creating healthier communities requires that practitioners from multiple sectors examine health inequities stemming from the built environment and determine solutions to improve quality of life for everyone.

Living in a community with a mix of uses and destinations can improve health by reducing household costs, encouraging physical activity, reducing chronic diseases, improving mental health, fostering community connections and supporting community resilience to climate change and pollution.
Everybody should have access to jobs, schools, shops and other essential goods and services which can impact one’s health and quality of life.

Our Approach

The Alliance works in multi-sector collaboration with partners at the local, regional, state and federal levels to advance policies and investments that promote powerful, healthy communities in transportation, land use, housing, food, water, climate change, and more. We work to elevate health justice and a Health in All Policies approach to policies and investments in these areas.

We work with our member health departments to build their capacity to engage and influence other sectors around health and equity. We also infuse health and equity serving on advisory committees in active transportation, land use, climate and other issues, and engaging in policy actions such as submitting comment letters and providing testimony on important healthy communities' issues where appropriate.

We created the California Healthy Places Index® (HPI) to explore factors that impact local health and help determine which areas would benefit most from physical improvements and investment. Some of the earliest HPI adopters included the California Strategic Growth Council, California Transportation Commission, CalTrans, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, California Natural Resources Agency, and Southern California Association of Governments, who are all using HPI for grantmaking, assessments and decision-making, and planning guidance. HPI has been utilized hundreds of government agencies, health care institutions, community groups and other sectors, and it has been used to allocate over one billion grant dollars from state agencies and philanthropy, directing resources to communities most in need. Highlights of some use cases can be found here.
We are promoting healthy communities by: