Press Release: Health Equity Solutions, Hartford Health Department chosen for national initiative Healing Through Policy

For immediate release: April 28, 2023

Contact: Carisa Cunningham, 617-447-6500

Effort aims to move from declaration to action on racism as a public health crisis

Hartford, CT —The Hartford Health Department (HHD) and Health Equity Solutions (HES) have been selected to participate in Healing Through Policy: Pathways to Racial Justice, along with 14 other municipalities and counties from across the country.

Healing Through Policy is an initiative of the American Public Health Association,

the de Beaumont Foundation, and the National Collaborative for Health Equity, in collaboration with Results for America, that aims to support communities in moving from commitment to action for health, racial equity, and justice.

“American society is increasingly recognizing the impact of racism on the health of individuals and communities,” said NCHE Executive Director Gail C. Christopher, DN. “More than 250 states, cities, and counties have issued declarations proclaiming racism a public health crisis. This is a step in the right direction. But now, public officials, the private sector, and communities must work together to eliminate racism and improve health outcomes, especially for people of color who have suffered through decades of health inequities.”

“We are proud to take part in this initiative,” said Ayesha Clarke, Executive Director of Health Equity Solutions. “Learning from our counterparts and sharing best practices can help power up our efforts to create conditions in Hartford where every resident can enjoy optimum health.”

‘The ‘public’ in public health refers to not only the individuals we serve, but also public policy,” said Liany E. Arroyo, MPH, CPH, who is the Director of Health and Human Services for Hartford. “If the last few years have taught us anything, is that programs alone cannot solve the inequities that exist. We need sound public policy to ensure that inequities are bridged and not exacerbated. Our work with HES on this initiative will allow the department to learn about what is working in other communities like ours and bring that knowledge to Hartford so change can happen.”

Healing Through Policy identifies a suite of local-level policies and practices that have been successfully implemented in at least one jurisdiction, show promise in improving health and racial equity, and meaningfully engage those who are impacted. Based on the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation frameworkTM, the policies and practices span five domains: narrative change, racial healing and relationship building, separation, law, and economy.

HES and HHD will participate in a highly acclaimed Community of Practice program and will receive counsel from experts and peer support from other localities that share these aims. The goal is to collectively advance the widespread adoption and implementation of policies that have shown positive impact on health and equity. In addition to Hartford, Community of Practice participants are Chicago, Illinois; Flint, Michigan (Genesee County); Lansing, Michigan (Ingham County); Martinsville, Virginia (Henry County); and Seattle & King County, Washington.

Nine additional jurisdictions will participate in a Solutions Sprint consisting of workshops, facilitated local collaboration, and practical learning on advancing tenants’ right to legal counsel as a policy avenue to improving public health and equity. Participating jurisdictions include Memphis, Tennessee; Lawrence/Douglas County, Kansas; Linn County, Iowa; Madison/Dane County, Wisconsin; Rhode Island (multiple local jurisdictions); and Santa Clara County, California.

“The ability to shape policy is a powerful tool to reduce health inequities,” said APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD. “Acknowledging that these injustices exist is the first step. We now need to move from recognition to action by implementing policies that will make a difference in the lives of our community members for generations.”

“Healing Through Policy is a testament to the power of community and action at the local level in creating equitable and just futures for all people,” said de Beaumont Foundation President and CEO Brian C. Castrucci, DrPH. “We are honored to be supporting these communities as they learn from one other and work together to address centuries of racist policy, heal from these injustices, and thrive.”

“Policies such as right to counsel for tenants facing eviction help ensure more residents have stable, affordable homes, which is critical for their health and well-being,” said RFA Executive Vice President and Chief Impact Officer Lisa Morrison Butler. “We look forward to working with local leaders to show how the use of data and evidence can help them move from commitment to action in addressing systemic health and racial inequities and creating thriving communities of opportunity for all.”

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About the de Beaumont Foundation The de Beaumont Foundation creates and invests in bold solutions that improve the health of communities across the country. Its mission is to advance policy, build partnerships, and strengthen public health to create communities where everyone can achieve their best possible health. For more information, visit Nalini Padmanabhan,, can answer additional questions about the program.

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