Skip to main content
Rural Health Information Hub

Considerations for Selecting and Implementing Strategies to Advance Health Equity

Rural communities are implementing a broad range of strategies to promote health equity. The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps provides an interactive learning guide with step-by-step instructions for developing strategies to promote health and equity.

Multiple frameworks for health equity describe how acting on the social determinants of health ultimately impact health equity and improve well-being. The Social Determinants of Health Toolkit outlines specific models for addressing the social determinants of health in a rural context, including programs focused on economic stability, social and community context, and neighborhoods and the built environment.

The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) has determined that the following social determinants of health interventions show sufficient or strong evidence at promoting health equity:

Policy, systems, and environmental changes can be critical to advancing health equity. Local policy solutions in rural communities can directly address the needs and experiences of rural residents who experience inequities. The report A Blueprint for Changemakers Achieving Health Equity Through Law & Policy provides a range of potential solutions that rural communities can consider to address the fundamental causes of inequities, such as:

  • Health in All Policies, which can help rural communities create a coordinated approach to addressing inequities across sectors.
  • Environmental quality initiatives like improved water quality and access, especially in rural areas that lack safe drinking water.
  • Workforce development and other employment strategies that provide opportunities for high-paying jobs among people who experience inequities.

For example, the Wisconsin Community Resilience and Response Task Force recommended local policies and practices that can be implemented to promote rural health equity in COVID-19 recovery efforts. The Task Force suggested policies across six core issue areas: broadband infrastructure, food systems and agriculture, healthcare access, housing stability, mental health and connectedness, and job security and stable environment. The Task Force references Approaches for Improving Rural Housing Affordability and Workforce Development and Human Capital from the Social Determinants of Health Toolkit.

Module 3: Program Clearinghouse provides additional examples of rural communities advancing health equity.

Resources to Learn More

Health Equity and Inclusion Program Strategies
Lists suggested strategies for promoting health equity and inclusion in the short, medium, and long term.
Organization(s): Oregon Health Authority, Office of Equity and Inclusion

Influencing Policy Development
Lists steps for effecting policy change in communities and organizations.
Organization(s): Community Tool Box, Center for Community Health and Development, University of Kansas

MCH Navigator: Strategies for Promoting Health Equity in Your State
Provides a series of videos that review health equity strategies for maternal and child health staff.
Organization(s): National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health, Georgetown University

Policy Approaches to Advancing Health Equity
Provides examples of policies that have been applied to advance health equity, including Health in All Policies.
Author(s): Hall, M., Graffunder, C., & Metzler, M.
Citation: Journal of Public Health Management Practice, 22(1), Supplement, S50–S59
Date: 2016

Promoting Health and Cost Control in States: How States Can Improve Community Health & Well-being Through Policy Change
Discusses cross-sector policies that can advance health equity at state and local levels.
Organization(s): Trust for America's Health
Date: 2/2019

Webinar Series: Intentionally Integrating Equity Into SDOH Interventions
Provides a webinar series that discusses how health equity principles may be incorporated into interventions that address the social determinants of health.
Organization(s): Health Leads
Date: 2020