Welcome to the Health Justice Report Card!
This tool is designed to help community based organizations, public health advocates and practitioners to look at how their county is doing along a range of issues related to the health and well being of communities. If, as research shows, social determinants — income, environment, stress, etc. — are critical factors in health, then how do we hold our institutions accountable to creating healthy communities? What do we measure to see where we are?
Using the Report Card: If this is your first time here, enter an email address and a password and click "Register" on the left menu bar. Once you're logged in, you can choose the State, County and Race you want to evaluate.
All but one of the indicators on this tool are automated. This way, it can easily generate a grade even when there are not resources for data collection because the real work, of course, is in changing the outcomes. For each indicator, there are links to tools and resources to support organizing, advocacy and policy development toward that end.
The indicators can be used for a specific racial group or for all non-white racial groups. Before starting the race report card, choose one group and conduct the entire exercise with it. The report card can be used multiple times, essentially grading the county for each racial/ethnic group.
These "measures" are not intended to be all inclusive. In fact, there are benchmark projects that have hundreds of indicators and we encourage communities with the resources to collect this kind of data when they can (See International Compendium of Health Indicators and the European Community Health Indicators project for a list of indicators used globally and the National Association of City and County Health Officials for model projects in the US).
Addressing Social Determinants Takes Political Will
Too often, policymakers think the "real health problem" is "bad" behavior and poor health education. Developing institutions that take an integrated approach takes strong community partnerships, formal and transparent access to decision making at the community level and setting benchmarks along the way. Indicators are great for examining the impact of policy and practice in the past. It is also important to put a process in place for reviewing policies' impact as they are being made. Click here for a copy of our Equity Impact Statement (EqIS), a tool for jurisdictions to examine proposed policy initiatives before they become law — much like an environmental impact statement.
It is important to note that this tool is not designed to take the place of rigorous research and evaluation methods. It is a way for advocates and practitioners to start a conversation on how improving this mix of "social determinants" and other health indicators can help create healthier communities. Once that conversation begins, it takes political will to make long term change. The Health Justice Toolkit is available for any group, emerging or established, to work together to win policy changes in order to build a healthier community.