The New Orleans Health Department (NOHD) recently conducted a comprehensive community health assessment to gain an inclusive picture of the health status of residents. The assessment revealed five main social determinants of health — crime and violence, insufficient infrastructure, unhealthy environments, lack of jobs and fair wages, and low-quality and unaffordable housing — all of which correlate directly with the inequitable gaps in health outcomes for Black residents. The assessment also revealed that Black residents are more likely than white residents to die from any cause. The Covid-19 pandemic has only underscored these health disparities, with the virus disproportionately impacting Black residents. To combat these health inequities, NOHD seeks to implement a program that invests in the economic and social determinants of health.

To assist with this work, NOHD is partnering with FUSE Executive Fellow Maria Moore to implement a “health equals wealth” program. After determining how current programs and projects can be altered to meet needs, Maria will devise an implementation strategy and initiate projects. This shift in focus will allow NOHD to target the root causes of health inequities and improve health and economic outcomes for Black residents.