Environmental Justice and Health Equity
Ethnically and racially diverse neighborhoods and people living with lower incomes have historically faced worse environmental conditions. Communities of color and communities with lower incomes are more likely to face worse health outcomes from the environment than wealthier communities and white communities. Environmental justice seeks to improve how the environment can change health and improve conditions in all California communities, especially those most under resourced.
Health equity refers to efforts to ensure that all people have full and equal access to opportunities that enable them to lead healthy lives. (CA Health and Safety Code Section 131019.5) Efforts to achieve health equity often require giving special attention to the needs of those at greatest risk of poor health, including historically oppressed or marginalized racial or ethnic groups (CDPH, Office of Health Equity, 2020).
Motivated to promote environmental justice and health equity, our programs seek to engage communities to identify health concerns and take action on environmental health problems to improve health and quality of life and to build mutual trust, understanding, and respect.
New Resources for Government Agencies
Are you looking to practice purposeful, community engagement? Created for public agencies, the Guide for Engaging Communities for Health Equity and Environmental Justice (PDF) offers promising practices and effective strategies for comprehensive community assessments, meaningful partnerships, community-based research, accessible communications, and equity-conscious interventions. The accompanying Toolkit for Engaging Communities for Health Equity and Environmental Justice (PDF) provides additional templates, resources, field-testing guides and more to work together with community in achieving common goals. Contact us at AskEHIB@cdph.ca.gov for support in implementing these strategies within your agency.
Sharing our Stories
The videos below show how our programs work with communities to increase health and environmental equity.
Sharing our Stories Video – Introduction to Our Branch's Work
Signs of the Times Video – Introduction to the work of the Exposure Prevention and Education Section (formerly Community Participation and Education Section)