About Us

Our Framework


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The Health Equity Collective’s methodology is based on a belief that our best opportunity to shift systems in order to bridge the gap between health and healthcare, and improve health equity, is together through collective impact. In our society, the capacity and systems for addressing upstream drivers for health are nascent and under development. As a result, the Health Equity Collective is deliberately iterative and actively engaging with and learning from peer efforts and expert leaders across the nation.

With a mission to establish an impactful, collective, sustainable, data-driven system to promote health equity, the Health Equity Collective aims to advance conditions and collaborations with tangible impact on people and communities so that all Greater Houston residents have the opportunity to be healthy and thrive. We know that not everyone, nor every community, has the same opportunities for health. We also recognize that it can be challenging for people, communities, and organizations to coalesce around a common understanding of health and health equity, its key drivers and barriers, and the actions it will take, collectively, to move the needle so that all have the opportunity to thrive.

The Health Equity Collective’s Framework for Achieving Better Health Together was created by the Social Determinants of Health Framework & Common Metrics Workgroup led by Nadia J. Siddiqui, MPH of Texas Health Institute, and Michael T. Walsh Jr., MHA of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and informed by the expertise of over 40 leaders from more than 30 Houston-based organizations actively working to advance health equity. The Framework is the product of more than a year of intensive workgroup investment in extensive literature review, assessment of health equity, social determinants of health impact models, and represents the focused direction of more than 140+ organizations that comprise The Health Equity Collective.

The Health Equity Collective’s Framework provides a two-part framing. The lower half, referred to as the “Drivers of Health,” depicts the upstream, midstream, and downstream factors critical for providing all people fair and just opportunities to achieve their best health. With respect to the drivers of health, the Framework ultimately reflects adaptation and expansion upon the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII) Framework for Reducing Health Inequities. The top half, referred to as “Actions for Health,” represents the tangible actions and unique contributions of the Health Equity Collective to the Greater Houston community toward the advancement of health equity objectives. Centralized and prioritized within the framework is the “Community”— including diverse individuals, families, stakeholders, leaders, and organizations working collaboratively to advance actions for health which both meaningfully address the complex drivers for health and ultimately result in improved health in our community.

The Framework is dynamic; it serves as both a mirror to assess the work of the Collective and a guide for the work – evolving as the assets, opportunities and needs in our community change over time. The primary purpose and utility of the Framework is to mobilize focused action of the Collective, and as a benchmark to inform and support the shared work of all organizations, leaders, and community residents committed to health equity in Greater Houston. We aim for all stakeholders to see themselves, their work, and their specific individual or organizational contributions in the Framework. Furthermore, the Framework informs the evaluation of the overall work of the Collective, including the selection and assessment of metrics. The Framework is accompanied by a set of common terms and definitions for reference when discussing health equity. These guiding definitions provide the initial consensus on meaning of important terms as well as resources to help learn more and move towards actions for achieving better health together.


A key to working across many organizations, sectors, and individuals is shared language and common definitions. These common definitions provide the foundation for shared metrics. Here is the evolving list of standard definitions.

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