Dear readers,

Our work of rest and repair over the winter holidays was particularly dissonant this year, with so many people and communities living without shelter, warmth, safety, or food. It weighs heavily on us and our staff that so many are trying to simply survive bombings, starvation, and displacement. And yet it has never been more apparent that our fate as a public health movement is linked to that of so many other movements for equity and justice. We must learn how to be in the struggle together.

If 2023 showed us one thing, it is that the field of public health cannot and should not fight for the public’s health alone. To achieve the big structural change needed for health equity and racial justice, we need a deeper bench, a broad, multi-sectoral movement with a long-term vision and strategy, an ecosystem of actors moving in strategic alignment together. We need strong champions inside of government who are politically savvy, brave, and committed to new ways of advancing racial justice and health equity alongside organizing partners. And we need a strong outside game: public health organizations working in coalition with community power-building groups to advance campaigns for housing, economic, and climate justice, community safety, and democracy.

We know that relationships are at the root of strong ecosystems, and the foundation for any structural change we seek. This report outlines our work over the past year – to strengthen relationships with each other and with our community organizing and public health partners, and to transform the material conditions that drive health.

At HIP, 2022 was a year of enormous growth and change. In 2023, we settled into our new larger body and “Houses of HIP,” while we sharpened our analysis, frameworks, and offerings to support deep systems change. Thank you, dear staff, for all that you have accomplished and for sharing your brilliance and wisdom with our community. You remain the life-force of HIP.

We grieve so much loss and suffering from 2023, while we hold each other and embrace life, our movements, and a future filled with justice, deep democracy, and health. We refuse to give in to despair and loss of hope; we know that another world is possible. We’re excited to be on that journey alongside you.


• Deepened our work with the public health sector, and across our 4 primary issue areas: community safety, economic justice, housing justice, and climate justice

• Welcomed 2 full-time staff members and 3 part time staff/interns to HIP


• Conducted 35+ interviews with public health and social movement partners to inform a public health ecosystem capable of stronger, more meaningful advocacy

• Mobilized the 3400+ national members of our Public Health Awakened network to make powerful interventions in campaigns for health equity and justice

• Provided political education to 77 public health students from over 30 different campuses nationally via our Abolitionist Public Health Student Network

• Produced powerful policy-driven research in partnership with 6 community organizing partners in support of their campaigns


• Provided 23 trainings and 100+ hours of Technical Assistance and Community of Practice (CoP) sessions to 1,000+ participants across 25 states

Places where the Capacity Building team provided training, technical assistance, and leadership development in 2023

• Launched a new CoP model to explore, discuss, and develop capacity to advance health equity, and facilitated 17 CoP sessions across multiple public health organizations and institutions, reaching 190+ participants


• Facilitated 17 trainings and workshops for public health agencies, community-based organizations, and grassroots organizing groups

• Provided direct technical assistance and support to agencies and organizations across 12 states

• Worked intensively with 4 inspiring partnerships of health departments and community power- building organizations via our Power-Building Partnerships for Health 2023 cohort


• Created 25+ unique resources to build public health capacity and advance social movement campaigns

• Hosted 7 webinars, spoke at over 25 panels and speaking engagements, presented at 5 national conferences and convenings, and were featured in 5 podcasts and 6 news articles

• Reached a newsletter subscriber audience of over 11,000 with health equity highlights, updates, and tools

In 2023 we worked to shift the field of public health to center equity and justice, and launched a new body of work to build a public health movement capable of showing up to advocate for policy change alongside social justice movement partners.

We conducted interviews with 35+ organizations to explore what it would take for the public health sector to build relationships and provide advocacy support to community power-building organizations around housing, economic, and climate justice, and community safety. Our findings will inform interventions to fuel a stronger, deeper public health ecosystem that can more meaningfully support social justice movements.

We continued to help equip public health students with the political analysis and organizing skills necessary to advance abolition as a public health intervention via our Abolitionist Public Health Student Network.

In 2023 we ran two additional cohorts of the network for public health students across the US. Participants developed abolitionist campaigns on campus, deepened their organizing skills, held discussions about abolition within their academic communities, shared successful strategies, and built relationships with allies across the country.

Our partners tell us that responsible, equitable, and just public health research is a vital contribution to their advocacy, and we worked to hone and spread our research model and approach. We released HIP’s Research Code of Ethics (RCOE) along with a webinar featuring community-engaged research practices.

Throughout 2023 we presented the RCOE at academic, nonprofit, and governmental institutions both nationally and abroad, and were honored to learn that it has been integrated into curriculum at several universities.

We continued to build capacity and support power-building through our national Public Health Awakened network via our 2023 Organizing for Health Training Series, and led or participated in 5+ lobby days around our priority issue areas.

At the APHA annual conference in Atlanta, GA this November, we organized a group of public health practitioners—including Public Health Awakened members—to rally in support of local organizing efforts to stop the proposed “Cop City” police training facility, and to draw connections to the health impacts of the expansion of the prison industrial complex more broadly.

People call for “Care Not Cages” at a Stop Cop City rally we organized at the 2023 APHA conference.

Our Housing Justice Program, newly formalized in 2022, made important moves on the national and local levels during its first full year as an official program.

Housing justice rally at California State Capitol Building in Sacramento for Housing Now! CA Coalition’s Annual Lobby Day, April 2023

At the national level, we raised the profile of right to counsel policies, worked to improve and defend HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing program, and mobilized public health on rental registry and lead-safe housing campaigns.

We also supported five partnerships in California and Colorado to build power for housing and health. And in California, we launched a new Housing Justice as Health Equity Collaborative, a network of nearly 20 organizations from the California health sector working to improve access to stable, dignified, and deeply affordable housing.

We contributed ongoing research and advocacy support to our movement and community organizing partners to drive policy change, and celebrated important policy wins and critical steps forward along the way, including:

"During a pivotal campaign moment, HIP was critical in demonstrating that rideshare driver working conditions are an urgent public health and racial justice issue…The team stood in solidarity with drivers in Chicago and wrote a letter supporting the Chicago Rideshare Living Wage and Safety Ordinance…We're grateful for HIP's steadfast commitment to justice for rideshare drivers."
-Veronica Avila, Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE)

In 2023 we built the capacity of public health departments and organizations to advance health equity and racial justice.

We provided 23 trainings and 100+ hours of Technical Assistance and Community of Practice (CoP) sessions to 1,000+ participants across 25 states.

To amplify our collective impact, our Capacity Building team took time in 2023 to strategically explore and align our goals, strategy, and values. We focused on internal development to center relationships and reflect on our own “why” in equity work. We deepened our understanding of shared purpose, and further integrated this in our work with partners.

We also honed in on container building as a critical foundation for health equity work, and centered disability justice and accessibility in our container building practices with partners and each other. As a result, we developed a more structured and strategic approach to working with public health departments and organizations, through our Building a Container and Foundation for Health Equity training series. In 2023, we launched the series with the Vermont Department of Health, Health Share of Oregon, and the Humboldt County, CA Department of Health and Human Services—and we are eager to expand our reach going forward.

In January, we launched a new Community of Practice (CoP) model, and facilitated 17 CoP sessions, reaching 190+ participants from: the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)’s health department grantees from CDC’s OT21-2103: National Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities, the Chicago Department of Public Health, Health Share Oregon, and Vermont Department of Health.

The CoPs provide a space where public health practitioners can come together to explore, discuss, and develop capacity and strategies to advance health equity. Our model is designed to help practitioners build authentic partnerships, work intentionally with the communities they serve, and act as meaningful partners to advance health and racial equity.

We developed and revamped many of our capacity building materials, including: publishing our new Building Containers for Health Equity resource series; refining our Root Cause Analysis and Applying an Equity Lens Tool training materials; and launching our Capacity Building Moments video series to share learnings from our work.

We also deepened our long-term relationships with NACCHO and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). We worked with NACCHO to develop content for two Roots of Health Inequity online course units, supported city and county health departments with CoP sessions and technical assistance, and led trainings and monthly learning communities for health departments on using transformative narratives for health equity. We also worked in collaboration with ASTHO to provide workshops on container building and develop micro learning modules for their health departments.

"HIP’s approach to public health is reflective of precisely the reason I chose to pursue the field of public health 7 years ago. They don’t skimp away from discussions [of] structural oppression, or justice, and they reflect time and again their expertise in helping other public health organizations through these same conversations, too, so that we can better engage our power. Their work these past two years on the revision of our Roots of Health Inequity Online Course has been invaluable ... Additionally, they’ve been instrumental in pushing NACCHO along its own journey in grappling with power internally. "
— Jasmine Akuffo, Sr. Program Analyst, NACCHO
“Working with HIP has been nothing short of transformational for so many of us at the Vermont Department of Health. Their deep expertise in racial and social justice, container building, working with multi-racial groups, and challenging the status quo (working within a state government reality) has helped us in so many ways as we try to liberate ourselves, our work culture, and our programming from white supremacy culture. Our work with HIP has also been personally impactful: the way they are able to combine vulnerability, humor, a deep knowledge of history and systems of oppression, and systems and policy change in public health has been truly remarkable and so supportive!”
— Sara Chesbrough, Health Equity Team Lead, Vermont Department of Health

In its second year, our Bridging team doubled in size and grew our emergent practices to center community power-building in public health by bringing governmental public health and community power-building organizations into deeper relationships.

We facilitated 17 trainings and workshops for public health agencies, community-based organizations, and grassroots organizing groups; published new power-building resources and assessment tools; and provided direct technical assistance and support to agencies and organizations across 12 states.

We launched our 2023 cohort of Power-building Partnerships for Health (PPH) and worked intensively throughout the year with four inspiring partnerships of health departments and community power-building organizations in Massachusetts, Louisiana, Kansas, and California. The cohort built deep and trusting relationships to work through conflict and shift power dynamics to advance their work on housing justice, worker power, environmental justice, and economic and food security.

The PPH Collective Convening we hosted in June was a powerful and transformational experience. Our 2023 cohort gathered at a beautiful retreat center in Essex, MA and set aside the urgent to protect time and space for the important. The group collectively and intentionally created a space that emphasized connection and relationship building, illuminated our strengths, and facilitated shared learning and collaboration.

We also provided thought leadership and coaching to public health allies who want to improve their own efforts to bridge across sectors — for example, we supported the CDC Foundation on a project to understand and make recommendations on strengthening equitable partnerships between community-based organizations and local health departments.

“Being a part of the [PPH] cohort was a unique opportunity to learn, share, and reflect on power dynamics in public health with brilliant colleagues from across the country. PPH was especially valuable because it created dedicated time and space for our health department team to build relationships and trust with our local power-building organization partner. Our time together in the PPH cohort laid the foundation for our organizations to continue to plan and strategize on how to advance public health goals together.”
– Jeanie Donovan, MPH, MPA, Deputy Director, Population Health & Disease Prevention, New Orleans Health Department
“Mi participación en el programa de PPH fue una de las mejores experiencias que tuve aprendiendo como mejorar mi trabajo como Organizadora Comunitaria colaborando con una agencia local como el Departamento de Salud. Me dio la oportunidad de conocer otros líderes de diferentes comunidades y aprender de cada uno de ellos. ‘Juntos, podemos fortalecernos y provocar cambios radicales a favor de los más vulnerables.'"
– Ana Ramos, Organizadora Comunitaria, CleanAirNow

We created and shared messaging, narratives, and resources to advance health equity and racial justice.

In 2023, we created and disseminated 25+ unique resources to build public health capacity, advance social movements, strengthen power-building relationships between public health and community organizations, and expand understandings of what creates collective health. Resources from across the organization ranged from guides to support community power-building, to policy-focused research, advocacy tools, and narrative curriculum. Over the course of the year, HIP staff hosted 7 webinars, spoke on over 25 panels, presented at or attended 5 national conferences and convenings, and were featured on 5 podcasts.

Organizing Project Director Sophie Simon-Ortiz speaks about health and housing connections at ENACT Day (pictured with Vince Leus, Prevention Institute)

We also embarked on the exciting journey of giving HIP a new name, look, and feel. A lot has changed since HIP first took root in 2006 — and after many years with our current name and branding, it is time for a shift to better reflect our growth as an organization. This year, we gathered feedback from a wide range of folks in the HIP community, to hone in on our brand and identity and ensure they align with our current values and goals. We are excited to re-introduce HIP with a new name and look in 2024!

HIP staff celebrate our rebrand at our annual staff retreat.

Recognizing the power of narratives to transform our world in support of collective health, we deepened and broadened our narrative work. In our third year of partnership with County Health Rankings & Roadmaps on the Narratives for Health project, we’ve streamlined our narrative curriculum, continued to support a monthly CoP, and led trainings for participants at health departments across the country. Internally, our staff worked to develop deeper transformative narratives on climate and housing justice to inform our ongoing work across these issue areas.

We experimented with new creative ways of sharing our work to reach broader audiences and speak to our community. It was a year of film for HIP – from the release of our Powerful Partnerships for Healthy Communities film series, to the Capacity Building team’s launch of Capacity Building Moments video shorts. We know transformation happens through the head and the heart together, and we’re excited by new ways to humanize our work to tell compelling stories about successful collaborations for health equity.

We also came together during moments of crisis in 2023 to create collective messaging, and grew in these moments by leaning into HIP’s commitments to lead with our relationships, and examine our own beliefs and positionality, while grounding in our heads and hearts.

We know that this approach to collective messaging – particularly in difficult, high-stakes moments – is an important part of our work toward health equity, racial justice, and power-building, and key to narrative building.

“University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute's County Health Rankings and Roadmaps is honored to work shoulder to shoulder with Human Impact Partners through our co-leadership of Narratives for Health…HIP's partnership and support has been invaluable in building the capacity of public health organizations, fostering relationships, aligning resources, and providing strategic thinking...What I appreciate most about HIP's partnership and this project is that we work as one cohesive team, as we each pool our talents and resources to shift power for the greater good.”
— Angela Acker, Narrative Infrastructure Team Leader, Wisconsin Population Health Institute’s County Health Rankings & Roadmaps

In 2023, we improved our systems, policies, and practices to better support our team.

We completed the large hiring push we started in 2022, onboarding 2 new full-time staff and 3 temporary staff/interns. We also created new internal hiring and promotion policies to be more intentional about opportunities for staff to advance their careers within HIP – and used these policies to promote or internally hire four staff into new positions!

We also made process and system upgrades to accommodate our rapid growth in 2022 – from updating our performance reviews process, to implementing improved remote office support for our hybrid team, to new cybersecurity protocols and staff expense technology. We also revised our health benefits to reduce out-of-pocket costs for staff with dependents, and to improve coverage for all staff.

We invested in ourselves! We offered 4 all-staff trainings to build our knowledge and accountability in key areas: people management, disability justice, conflict transformation, and facilitation for freedom. We also held 3 in-person staff gatherings to strengthen relationships and engage in strategic conversations that deserve face-to-face time.

As a newly expanded Operations team in our first year working together, we built internal synergy by clarifying roles, focusing on communications, streamlining protocols, and providing mutual support – all while operating in three different time zones spanning two continents.

HIP Operations team: Khalil Hall, Shannon Tracey, and Christina Medina Martin at our annual staff retreat.
“The Operations team helps us all turn our values into action with the systems and processes we need for our culture of caretaking, mutual support, and solidarity.”
– HIP staff member
"The Operations team shapes our organizational practices in a thousand small ways to treat us like whole humans, honor the balance of work and personhood, and move us closer to our organizational values and commitments. Because of this, we can show up as our whole selves and sustain ourselves for the hard work of health equity and justice."
– HIP staff member

We achieved and built so much together in the past year. What have we learned? Where are we going?

Strong relationships are the foundation of supporting community power-building and meaningful systems change.

In seeking to heal from the traumas of living in systems of oppression, we hold on to the belief that relationships are what make the difficult and more radical work possible.

Across all our teams this year, one of our most valuable learnings was a reaffirmation: investing in long-term relationships with each other and our partners is absolutely critical to winning change for equity and justice.

In our Policy & Organizing work, we’ve seen success in places where we have invested deeply, for many years, across many different programs, to build a strong ecosystem of public health and community organizing for example, in Riverside, CA. In our economic justice and climate justice issue areas, this learning is prompting us to invest in building out programs with the appropriate staffing to steward movement relationships going forward. In every evaluation we’ve done of the Abolitionist Public Health Student Network thus far, students have expressed the importance of having access to a national network of other students asking similar questions and organizing aligned campaigns. We’re excited to expand the network to include a faculty cohort in 2024, as they’re also seeking this community.

HIP Program Director Christine Mitchell handing out posters before our #StopCopCity rally in Atlanta.

Strong and trusting interpersonal relationships are a precondition for inside-outside strategy and bridging work between governmental public health and social movement organizations. Our Bridging team continued to lean into the core HIP value of “centering the heart” and leading with humanity and the centrality of our relationships this year, an especially important practice to navigate the power dynamics between government and movement partners. We’ve found that many people underestimate the amount of time and attention needed to cultivate deep relationships. In our most intensive and longer-term work with power-building partnerships, we intentionally scale back content and didactic presentations to create more space for building relationships and facilitating conversations for collective learning.

In our Capacity Building work with health departments, too, we’ve learned through our Community of Practice spaces that public health practitioners appreciate and need opportunities to have deep, meaningful conversations with each other.

These spaces have been valuable for our community — especially when facing burnout, frustration, and hopelessness — to pause and think about their own investment in health equity work, and their individual power within an organization. We’re continuing to explore how we can create more offerings and strategies that help move the needle to normalize long-term, deep, relational work within governmental public health, and embrace new ways of working within organizations.

Our fate as a public health movement is linked to that of all other movements for equity and justice; we must learn how to be in the struggle together.

Graphic notes from a 2023 California Equity Convening talk and panel, featuring Stephanie Nathan, Michael Magaña, Holly Nickel, and HIP Co-Director Solange Gould.

This year made clear to us that public health cannot fight for the public’s health alone: we must join multi-sector, multi-racial movements fighting together for the liberation of all communities. In this political moment in particular, fighting for our health requires us to organize against the anti-democratic and deregulatory forces aiming to gut our institutions of governance.

Public health still has a lot of work to do to align as an ally to social movements — but there’s desire and excitement to bridge the gap. Our 35+ interviews with public health and social movement partners revealed how aligned voices between public health and community power-building organizations can make campaigns more effective, leading to better material conditions and better health for marginalized people and communities. Our California Housing Justice and Health Equity Collaborative pilots a new structure for building just that alignment. There is also an appetite among public health researchers to use their research to support community power-building and policy campaigns. Given this interest, we want to continue to shift the field of public health research by spreading the word about our Research Code of Ethics, which we created to hold ourselves accountable to practicing research that is responsible, equitable, and just.

In our work with Public Health Awakened, we’ve felt and seen that burnout among public health practitioners is a barrier in engagement with political campaigns and broader social justice work. As we head into an election year with a lot at stake, including our democracy, we’re looking at how we can take advantage of the moment to re-ignite and sustainably engage public health workers more deeply in our work and in support of our partners.

We must be emergent in our strategies and creative in our collaborations to respond to the ever-changing moment… and the next moment, and the next.

In the fluctuating landscape of politics and movements, there is no one right path forward. This year, we tried to find lessons in the failures we faced – analyzing why some of the state and local policies we supported didn’t pass, for example, and how we can work in new ways to ameliorate the feelings of burnout and capacity limitations that are so real among our partners and colleagues.

In 2024, we recognize a need to continue to find new ways to do research and advocacy to help win campaigns beyond our traditional work authoring research reports alongside community partners. Partners continue to request, and express gratitude for, our support as research strategists to build movement capacity. Our research staff are piloting new kinds of partnerships aimed at supporting organizers to navigate bureaucracy and get research products over the finish line. For example, we are developing a research project on the health impacts of corporate landlords under the guidance of an advisory committee with membership from across movement organizations, to draw fewer resources from individual movement partners and better serve the field.

We welcome innovation as we move into the new year and will continue to explore new ways in which we can project movement-grounded public health research into policy debates and help build up grassroots movements’ research and data capacity.

Leaning into risk strengthens our capacity to fight for health equity as an organization and as a movement.

To build a bold and powerful movement for change, we must be able to trust each other enough to learn through generative conflict. We must give each other grace, rather than letting it fracture us. Risk is an inherent part of change and of working to shift power, whether within our organizations, our health departments, or between government and communities.

Across our work, we continued to create practices that help people assess and plan for risk-taking toward equity and justice. Internally and externally, we’ve experienced the importance of building a container with interpersonal trust and shared accountability where partners can identify, name, and shift conflict from being reactive and harmful to strategic and generative. Dominant ways of being would suggest that container building practices are "fluff" or an inefficient use of time. But we've seen how intentional container building deepens the impact of equity work and heads off other issues that could slow or completely block progress. While we know it can be tempting to rush this practice to get to what feels like the "work-work," we’ve seen that container building is integral to the work.

We are also inspired by movements for restorative and transformative justice and are building up our skills in facilitation and support for those inside and outside of government who are taking risks and navigating conflict to create a more just world.

Deepening our collective analysis by making time and space for continued learning is critical for sharpening our strategy and vision.

Nurturing our commitment to creating accessible spaces was especially central to our work and learning this year. Our staff participated in a powerful and enlightening disability justice training with PeoplesHub last spring, which sparked the creation of an internal HIP Accessibility Justice workgroup tasked with deepening and clarifying our accessibility practices and commitments. Our Bridging team established a partnership with ¡Wepa! Translations to build language justice — including translation and live bilingual interpretation — into every aspect of the Power-building Partnerships for Health cohort experience. In addition to improving accessibility, creating a bilingual space that centers language justice has created a rich experience for the entire cohort and enabled participants to feel comfortable and build deep relationships with each other. Alongside the Accessibility Justice workgroup, our other internal working groups — BeWell Workgroup, Black affinity, BIPOC affinity, Jewish affinity, and White affinity — continued to be spaces for advancing our learning this year.

Our Capacity Building team is strengthening its analysis of inside/outside strategy and preparing to strategize about how we deepen democracy and grow deeper relationships that model co-governance amongst public health organizations. Our team is exploring what inside-outside strategy means to public health organizations and how we can best support our government partners in fostering better relationships with community-based organizations.

As an organization, we’re also continuing to figure out what models and philosophies of decision-making are most effective for us as a whole and within teams. We learned a lot this year about how to strike a balance between consensus and consultation to get things done. This has required a lot of emergence and responsiveness to feedback, and we’re eager to continue to refine our processes in the new year.

We are so grateful to our philanthropic partners who provide thought partnership, support our vision and work, and encourage innovation and risk-taking.

Deep gratitude to (in alphabetical order): Blue Shield of California Foundation, Clif Family Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund, The JPB Foundation, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Wellspring Philanthropic Fund.

We also appreciate the ongoing partnership of the many health organizations who provide us funding support for our partnerships, including (but not limited to): Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, National Association of County and City Health Officials, Pew Charitable Trust’s Health Impact Project, University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute’s County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, and many other individual health departments and nonprofit organizations.

Human Impact Partners transforms the field of public health to center equity and builds collective power with social justice movements. Want to learn more about anything you read? Have questions, feedback, connections to make? Reach out to us at info@humanimpact.org and visit us at www.humanimpact.org.