American Public Health Association
800 I Street, NW • Washington, DC 20001-3710
(202) 777-APHA • Fax: (202) 777-2534 •

Healthy Communities

imagery of ladies walking and food label

APHA is dedicated to creating health equity and healthy communities. A healthy community can be defined as one that:1-2

  • Meets everyone’s basic needs such as safe, affordable and accessible food, water, housing education, health care and places to play;
  • Provides supportive levels of economic and social development through living wage, safe and healthy job opportunities, a thriving economy and healthy development of children and adolescents;
  • Promotes quality and sustainability of the environment through tobacco and smoke-free spaces, clean air, soil and water, green and open spaces and sustainable energy use; and
  • Places high value on positive social relationships through supportive and cohesive families and neighborhoods, honoring culture and tradition, robust social and civic engagement and violence prevention.

To create healthy communities, APHA promotes programs and strategies that address the social determinants of health — the social, economic, environmental and psychological factors that influence individual and community health.

Environmental Health: Emphasizing the impact the environments in which people are born, live, work and play have on their health. Content areas include built environment, chemical exposure & prevention, climate change, food systems and workforce development.

Health in All Policies: Promoting incorporation of health considerations in decisions across all sectors, including planning, housing, transportation and education.

Health Equity: Advancing attainment of the highest level of health for all people. Achieving health equity requires elimination of health disparities and addressing inequalities in access and opportunities.

Health Reform: Following implementation of the Affordable Care Act with a focus on promoting and protecting the critical public health and health system transformation provisions that increase access to quality care, support prevention and wellness and expand the public health workforce.

Injury and Violence Prevention: Raising attention to the burden of injury and violence and promoting policy strategies for its prevention and control.

Leading Health Indicators for Healthy People 2020: Current high-priority health issues and actions that can be taken to improve the health of the U.S. population.

School, Health and EducationFocusing on the health and social factors that influence educational success and decrease school dropout. Efforts promote school-based health centers as uniquely positioned to eliminate or reduce barriers to learning (and ultimately graduation) by improving access to physical and mental health care.

Transportation and HealthElevating the connections between public health, equity and transportation and promoting transportation decisions that support health.

1 California Health in All Policies Task Force. (2010, December 3). Retrieved from: Health in All Policies Task Force Report to the Strategic Growth Council.

2 World Health Organization (2002). Healthy Village: A Guide for Community and Community Health Workers