How State and Local Leaders View Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity

How State and Local Leaders View Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity

Published: Mar 17, 2023
Publisher: Mathematica
Key Findings
  • Leaders believe people’s choices about their diet, exercise, and smoking most affect their health and well-being.
  • Most leaders feel it is important for residents to have access to positive social determinants of health.
  • Across the board, leaders believe in the importance of activities that advance health equity, but lack confidence that their organization can or will do anything about it.
  • The biggest barrier to advancing equity and systems alignment reported by leaders is a lack of resources, including limited funding, staffing, and services.
  • Leaders who were less likely to endorse attitudes promoting population health were mostly from the physical safety and employment sectors, and sometimes from the economic and community development sectors.
  • Two attitudes predicted leaders’ intention to promote population health: (1) their confidence in their organization’s ability to take action and (2) their belief in how much certain groups in their community want their organization to take action.

The What Shapes Health and Well-Being Survey explores how state and local leaders view, understand, and talk about the factors affecting health and well-being in their communities. Drawing on data from 5,450 state and local leaders throughout the United States, this brief presents the main findings from the survey, which ended in March 2022. It also provides links to toolkits and other resources for state and local leaders who want to work toward a future in which all people have a fair and just opportunity to be healthy. This work was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and conducted by Mathematica.

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