Developing Healthy People 2030Social determinants of health affect all aspects of life, and it will take collaboration between many sectors – including education, transportation and housing – to confront them and ultimately achieve health equity.

That was the main takeaway from “Using Healthy People to Address Social Determinants of Health and Achieve Health Equity,” a new webinar from APHA and the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, which oversees development of the 10-year national health objectives.

First broadcast earlier this month, the webinar highlights how local health officials use Healthy People to drive progress and how the newly launched Healthy People 2030 can be used to address social determinants. 

In particular, Healthy People 2030 helps elevate the importance of cross-sector engagement and serves as a roadmap to becoming a healthier nation, panelists said. 

“When engaging diverse sectors in public health work, it’s important to think about shared values, how that sector impacts health and what a successful partnership would look like,” said panelist Paul Reed, MD, deputy assistant secretary for health, medicine and science at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Reed addressed the place-based approach of Healthy People 2030 and encouraged community engagement when implementing the objectives. 

LaQuandra Nesbitt, MD, MPH, director of the District of Columbia Department of Health, said that “equity is a central tenet” of the agency’s work and pointed to the importance of having open conversations about racism and its impact on health. 

Strategies that speak to social determinants of health are embedded in each area of the department’s health framework, Nesbitt said, such as achieving a living wage, improving transportation infrastructure and expanding access to grocery stores. She also discussed using the Healthy People framework to bring varying sectors to the table that can help impact those determinants.

“We can mobilize more organizations to action if we recognize that there are a myriad of health conditions and health behaviors that we need to be focused on,” Nesbitt said. 

Panelist Joe Zietsman, PhD, PE, director of the Center for Advancing Research in Transportation Emissions, Energy and Health, highlighted the intersections between better health and transportation, identifying nine Healthy People objectives clearly linked to that particular social determinant.

Zietsman and his team developed the Healthy People through SMART Infrastructure initiative, which offers resources to help officials incorporate healthy decisions into transportation planning.

“It requires both transportation and health professionals to work together to solve these problems,” Zietsman said. 

Visit APHA to watch a recording of “Using Healthy People to Address Social Determinants of Health and Achieve Health Equity.” And search through all of APHA’s webinars here.