Going beyond a HiAP framework, participants recommended that all policies should be vetted through the lens of health and well-being for families. In line with this, it was suggested that policies should be developed using an equity lens and make the distinction between equity and equality. Equity recognizes that some groups of people need more resources due to a long history of injustices towards them. When using an equity lens, it is important to understand power relations and the historical context of injustice (i.e. colonization) currently sustained through systemic racism and the economic system. Based on this, we need policies that will repair the injustices of the past and present; ensure fair resource allocation; and provide families what they need to enjoy healthy lives. Moreover, we need to make sure immigrant and refugee families and youth have a real voice and seat at decision making tables. They should have the opportunity to share their insights, ideas and solutions on how to develop policies on key issues that matter most to them.
Members of the HEP network are currently using HIA to elevate the impacts of proposed policies on health and equity. In San Juan County, there is interest in conducting a full HIA on the health impacts of fracking. Some network members are using community mapping as a tool to engage community members and educate decision makers on community solutions designed to ensure the health and well-being of families. In Doña Ana County, community members have been taking photographs of their neighborhoods, serving as listening post, and engaging them on issues that matter most to them.
Additionally, Ona Porter, President & CEO of Prosperity Works who presented at the Statewide Health Equity Gathering shared about the Family Impact Analysis tool which provides decision makers a series of questions to bring families’ interests and needs into decision making. The Family Impact Analysis tool makes family well-being an assumption, minimizes the negative impact on families, and improves outcomes for families and children.