Health Equity Zones

HEZ Updates

  • Join Mailing List
Health equity zone initiative

Rhode Island Health Equity Measures

Imagine a Rhode Island where every person has a fair and just opportunity to be healthy. This is known as health equity. We all want to live in a place without obstacles to health like poverty and discrimination. And we all want to live in communities where we and our loved ones can access good jobs with fair pay, quality education, and safe environments. Yet in every neighborhood, a range of conditions affect people's health and safety every day.

Up to 80 percent of our health is determined outside the doctor's office and inside our homes, schools, jobs, and communities. (more) Generations-long social, economic, and environmental inequities have resulted in adverse health outcomes. They affect communities differently, and have a greater influence on health outcomes than individual choices or one's ability to access healthcare.

Reducing these inequities can help improve opportunities for every Rhode Islander. To improve surveillance of the socioeconomic and environmental factors that drive health inequities, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) collaborated with partners from community organizations, academia, healthcare, and government from 2014-2016 to develop Rhode Island's first set of statewide health equity measures. To learn more about this collaboration, review this health equity indicators factsheet.


To serve as Rhode Island's statewide standard for assessing the State's progress towards health equity.

How data can be used

We encourage Rhode Islanders to collaborate across sectors to address barriers to health and advance health equity. The Rhode Island Health Equity Measures can help identify systems and policies that affect the ability of every Rhode Islander to live a healthy life and achieve their full potential. They are intended to help communities assess the impact of health equity initiatives, such as Rhode Island's Health Equity Zones, by providing baseline data and supporting outcomes evaluation. They also provide a way to measure our shared progress.

Key Information

Through an extensive community engagement process, the Community Health Assessment Group developed a core set of 15 measures in five domains that affect health equity: integrated healthcare, community resiliency, physical environment, socioeconomics, and community trauma. Data come from various sources. When possible, data are reported by geographic location, race/ethnicity, disability status, income level, or other demographic characteristics.

Integrated Healthcare

Healthcare Access

Measure Percentage of adults who reported not seeking medical care or dental care due to cost (2 measures)
Data Source Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
Strata Race/Ethnicity, Income, Education, Disability status
Learn More more

Social Services

Measure Ratio: Number of individuals receiving to number of individuals eligible for SNAP benefits, based on income
Data Source Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), US Census Bureau
Strata City/Town
Learn More more

Behavioral Health

Measure Ratio: Number of naloxone kits distributed to number of overdose deaths
Data Source Rhode Island Department of Health | Prevent Overdose RI website
Strata City/Town
Learn More more

Community Resiliency

Civic Engagement

Measure Percentage of registered voters participating in the most recent presidential election
Data Source Rhode Island Board of Elections
Strata City/Town
Learn More more

Social Vulnerability

Measure Index score that reflect the social vulnerability of communities
Data Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Social Vulnerability Index, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Strata Census tract
Learn More more

Equity in Policy

Measure Ratio: Number of low- to moderate-income housing units to number of low- to moderate-income households
Data Source HousingWorks RI, Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy
Strata City/Town
Learn More more

Physical Environment

Natural Environment

Measure Tree Equity Score
Data Source Tree Equity Score
Strata Census Block Group and Municipality
Learn More more


Measure Index score that reflects the affordability of transportation for renters
Data Source US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Low-Cost Transportation Index
Strata City/Town, Census tract
Learn More more

Environmental Hazards

Measure Number and percentage of children with blood lead levels > 5 micrograms/deciliter
Data Source Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) Environmental Lead Program
Strata City/Town
Learn More more


Housing Cost Burden

Measure Percentage of renters and owners who are housing cost burdened
Data Source 2013-2017 American Community Survey - Selected Housing Characteristics
Strata City/Town
Learn More more

Food Insecurity

Measure Percentage of population who are food insecure
Data Source Feeding America - Map the Meal Gap
Strata County
Learn More more


Measure Percentage of high school students graduating with a regular diploma within four years
Data Source Rhode Island Department of Education
Strata City/Town, Race/Ethnicity, Economic Status, Disability
Learn More more

Community Trauma


Measure Percentage of adults reporting racial discrimination in healthcare settings in the past 12 months
Data Source Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (available 2020)
Strata To be determined

Criminal Justice

Measure Number of non-violent offenders under RI probation and parole (per 1,000 resident age 18+)
Data Source Rhode Island Department of Corrections, US Census Bureau
Strata City/Town
Learn More more

Public Safety

Measure Violent crime rate and non-violent crime rate (per 100,000 people)
Data Source RI State Police Uniform Crime Reports, FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program
Strata City/Town
Learn More more