Health is often defined by access to health care services. While affordable health care is necessary, it’s important to recognize that health and wellness are largely determined by the environments and conditions we live in. A number of studies highlight the impact of place on life expectancy. We often hear that one’s zip code is more important than their genetic code when it comes to a long healthy life.

Research points to a discrete set of factors that help determine health and life expectancy, which are referred to as the social determinants of health (SDOH).  These are the social and environmental conditions that we experience on a daily basis—the conditions where we play, learn, sleep, work, seek care, and age.

Identity, combined with historical discrimination and oppressive policies, influences how robustly present or absent each determinant is. People of color, women, LGBTQ individuals, undocumented people, working class families, indigenous communities, and people with disabilities disproportionately bear the burden of poor policy decisions.

Despite this, community resilience continues to elevate successful and innovative strategies to improve health for everyone. Communities across the U.S. organize and educate residents around the root causes, or social determinants of health, that shape local social conditions in order to promote better health for all. Praxis is proud to work with a number of the community groups organizing across and at the intersection of these determinants to help advance health justice for all.