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Wisconsin Center for Health Equity

Why We Exist

Most people, including many health professionals, believe that there are two main approaches to improving health: reduce unhealthy behaviors and increase access to healthcare.   However, we now know that good health also requires attention to a broader set of factors that lie outside the individual and outside the capacities of both medical care and traditional public health.  These factors include but are not limited to:

  • Adequate Income
  • Good Education
  • Affordable, Safe, Quality Childcare
  • Affordable, Safe Housing
  • Social Support
  • Transportation
  • Accessible, Affordable, Healthy Food

To be more effective at improving health for all, public health entities must add to their traditional approaches by learning to influence the policy environment in these multiple areas with which they have been relatively unfamiliar.  

What We Do

The Center for Health Equity is dedicated to improving the social and economic factors that strongly influence our public health within the City of Milwaukee as well as throughout the state of Wisconsin.  The Center will concentrate on improving the health of our population through three main strategies:

  • Improve understanding of how socioeconomic conditions affect people’s health

A person’s socioeconomic status – income, education, race, etc. – strongly affects their chances of being healthy and staying healthy, regardless of whether they exercise, eat healthy foods, or receive regular medical care.

  • Encourage and support changes in public policy to improve the health of everyone in our community

Improving policies in multiple areas – education, employment, transportation, and childcare, among others – will improve people’s chances of being healthy and staying healthy.

  • Build community involvement in policymaking

Helping communities to strengthen their “civic capacity” and become more effective in improving the public policies that affect them and their community’s health.

In focusing on these areas, we hope to achieve “health equity,” by which we mean a society where all people have an equal chance to be healthy.