All people have a right to live healthy, full lives. Healthy residents participate more fully in the economy and their communities, making safer, thriving communities. However, nearly one-fifth of all Americans live in lower-wealth communities, where job opportunities are scarce; access to adequate housing and nutritious, affordable food is poor; and pollution and crime are too often prevalent, creating bigger and inequitable barriers to achieving health and well-being. Dramatic differences in health outcomes across racial and ethnic groups are well-documented and represent systemic inequities that must be addressed. To improve these outcomes at scale, we need to start where most American’s live—in small to mid-sized cities.
Our task is to unlock and lift-up the enormous potential of these places as engines for economic growth, vitality and human potential for all people – especially in those communities that have not benefited from long-term, intensive community investment. More specifically, the Invest Health initiative prioritizes investment in communities that need it most, creating the opportunity for our nation to overcome decades of policies that comprised the health and well-being of many places. We believe that the community development sector is an important part of the solution, enabling our nation to meaningfully undo racial, economic, and health inequities. Below are some key resources that help us focus on this work.