Health equity means that every person has the opportunity to achieve optimal health and safety—a principle and approach that has guided all of Prevention Institute’s work since its inception. We focus on how the structural drivers of inequity, like racism and income inequality, impact communities. We seek to change the community conditions tied to those inequities, by targeting the policies, practices, procedures, and norms that cause or perpetuate them. A focus on health equity permeates all of our focus areas, from violence prevention to mental health to healthy food and activity environments. Our thinking on health equity has informed a number of efforts nationally and internationally, including at the World Health Organization, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the National Academy of Medicine.

Projects & Initiatives

PI works with a breadth of partners and communities to develop strategies and practices to keep people healthy and safe in the first place. Below is a selection of ongoing or recent projects.

  • Countering the Production of Health Inequities through Systems and Sectors

    Prevention Institute is working with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Achieving Health Equity Team to inform its grant making goals and strategies. Our analysis reveals that health inequities have been produced through policies and practices and that multiple sectors have a role to play in reversing the production and in supporting community transformation and health equity.

  • Water Equity

    Our approach to water equity connects a range of environmental and social issues whose challenges and solutions are interwoven, from drinking water quality and stormwater management to urban greening and fiscal equity.  It also recognizes the full spectrum of disparate environmental conditions that negatively impact the health of low-income communities of color—including air, soil and water pollution and disparities in natural and recreational amenities—and considers how system-level solutions may address or compound inequities.

  • Health Equity in Violence Prevention

    Advancing health equity is a central piece of our work in preventing violence, as we aim to address the underlying systems and conditions of inequity that create and perpetuate violence in the first place.  Our research and trainings in this area address land use practices; community trauma and resilience; early childhood development; and the critical role of urban youth in fostering safe communities.

  • THRIVE: Tool for Health & Resilience In Vulnerable Environments

    In 2001-2003, we developed the Tool for Health and Resilience in Vulnerable Environments (THRIVE) for the U.S. Office of Minority Health. THRIVE is a framework for understanding how structural drivers play out at the community level to impact daily living conditions which, in turn, influence health, safety and health equity.

  • Healthy, Equitable, Active Land Use Network

    HEALU was formed in response to structural barriers to equity in Los Angeles’ land use arena, and in an effort to strategically and collaboratively promote systems change. HEALU augments the role of health in the land use sphere through training, capacity building, convening and proactively advancing key strategies to ensure a healthier, more equitable land use system.

  • Healthy and Equitable Land Use Demonstration Projects

    Decisions about land use—like what projects get built and where, whose voices shape the process, and what supports are in place to ensure that existing residents benefit from new investments—directly impact community health. Through our local-level projects and policy work, we are building a model of how to embed health equity in all land use related decisions.


We research and write reports, white papers, fact sheets, opinion pieces, and journal articles, as well as produce videos and podcasts. Here are some of our latest offerings.

Tools & Services

We have developed a broad range of practical, free-to-use tools to guide practitioners, advocates, and policymakers in planning and implementing  prevention strategies. We also provide services to help you use our tools to create healthy and safe communities.

  • A Practitioner's Guide for Advancing Health Equity

    This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guide, developed with help from Prevention Institute, helps public health practitioners advance health equity through community prevention strategies.

  • Trainings

    Prevention Institute has trained thousands of professionals and practitioners in cutting-edge prevention research and practice. Our interactive trainings build excitement about the potential of primary prevention to save lives, reduce costs, promote equity, and reduce the incidence of disease, violence, and injury. Our newest trainings are HEALU 101 and System of Prevention. (we could link HEALU 101 and System of Prevention training pages)

Profiles in Action

These profiles, written by PI and our partners, show what community prevention looks like on the ground, all across the country.

  • THRIVE Empowers Youth to Improve Community Safety: A California Case Example

    The staff of Public Health Institute brought THRIVE to Planada, California to engage youth to address pedestrian safety. After using Photovoice to assess community conditions related to pedestrian safety, the group decided to focus on promoting safe routes to school. To advance safe routes to school, the youth engaged in a multi-faceted campaign, including efforts to create policy change.

  • THRIVE Advances a Shared Understanding of Social Determinants of Health: A Louisiana Case Example

    After the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI) participated in a THRIVE training-of-trainers, LPHI staff applied the concepts of THRIVE to spark organizational change. They created a health equity workgroup and expanded the focus of their ongoing initiatives and coalition to include community environments. They trained community activists on THRIVE and saw quick outcomes with the development a community garden.  

  • The Community Driven Eden Area Liveability Initiative

    Over the course of a decade, stakeholders in the western unincorporated area of Alameda County (also called "The Eden Area") came together to identify, discuss, and debate the most important issues facing their communities. Collectively, they developed a vision of livable communities and a prioritized set of actions.