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Guidelines for Achieving Health Equity in Public Health Practice



The purpose of the Guidelines for Health Equity in Public Health Practice is to identify the needs of LHDs and their constituents and to ensure that they have a means by which to evaluate the effectiveness of their practice in achieving health equity. These guidelines are meant to serve as advice and not performance standards. In addition, they are designed to increase awareness of and draw attention to health inequity, provide a method for evaluating accountability, and enable local health departments (LHDs) to gain a portrait of their capacity to address health equity. The intent is to equip LHDs with the tools they need to set priorities, compare themselves to other agencies, and educate elected officials and other institutions that influence health about what they can accomplish

Three essential criteria exist for the Guidelines for Health Equity in Public Health Practice: (1) they should maintain a focus on root causes of health inequity; (2) they should be feasible; and (3) they should inspire alternative ways of thinking more comprehensively about organizing public health practice.

The phenomenon of health inequity requires that public health professionals move from an improvisational approach to one that is comprehensive, and in doing so, return to a larger social context that has defined the origins of public health. In devising guidelines, our assumptions are that building internal capacity and capability requires (1) shifting the philosophy and culture regarding how the work of public health is done; (2) developing strong relationships with community organizations within a Community-Based Participatory Research Model; and (3) generating strategies for reforming public health policy to enable action and remove constraints to broadening the focus of public health.

Primary Toolkit:

Health Equity and Social Justice Toolkit

Keyword Area:

Health Equity, Social Justice


Institutional Author:






Five most recent user comments

4.5 Stars of 5 - Very Useful
Modification of Public Health Services 1-5, 8, and
By Anonymous
This tool will enable the Local Health Department to look at the question of health equity/inequity with a community perspective. The shift in the focus of the 10 Essential Public Health Services causes health professionals to analyze the issues in a more in-depth and collaborative approach. 

The NACCHO Toolbox is a repository of available resources to help local public health practitioners. Tools are produced by local, state, and federal agencies, as well as academic institutions and other stakeholders. The contents of this Toolbox are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official recommendations of NACCHO. NACCHO makes no express or implied warranty with respect to the contents and disclaims liability for any damages arising from or connected to the use of the material in this Toolbox.