10 Essential Public Health Services


Assure an effective system that enables equitable access to the individual services and care needed to be healthy

Public Health plays a critical role in shifting systems for equity. This requires: focusing on priority populations for whom equity gaps exist; addressing structural racism and discrimination; promoting diversity, equity, belonging, and inclusion; and building community power. Only by engineering public health infrastructure for equity and centering equity in all practices, policies, actions, and endeavors can Public Health achieve its vision for health, well-being, and equity.

Equity & Systems

Equity is both an outcome of and a process by which to achieve systems transformation for health, well-being, and equity. Moving the needle on equity requires us to measure inequities, implement systems strategies to address disparities, and track progress toward equity goals. Centering equity in all aspects of designing, developing, researching, implementing, evaluating, staffing, engaging, and partnering on health improvement work is also needed.

Public Health in Action

The most effective, efficient, and sustainable approaches to improve equity address the root causes of health inequities, like structural racism. Public Health works both upstream to address root causes, like advocating to restore voting rights for persons with felony convictions, and downstream to alleviate disparities, like implementing syringe services programs for persons who inject drugs. Public Health often employs multi-layer strategies for maximum impact.


    Identify and measure health inequities
    Co-design with and tailor implementation strategies to specific communities and priority populations
    Hire diverse teams that reflect populations served

    Set ambitious health equity goals for programs and systems

    Reflection Questions

    • What is an example of a policy, implemented long ago, that continues to drive health inequities?
    • How can Public Health organizations build capacity across their teams for impactful equity-centered work?
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