In 2002, the Joint Center received a $7 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to establish the Health Policy Institute (HPI). The HPI enhances the Joint Center's mission by contributing to the improved health status of people of color, and by expanding their participation in political, economic, and public policy arenas.
HPI's approach to eliminating health disparities involves identifying the complex underlying causes of health disparities and defining specific strategies to address them. Toward this end, HPI engages in many activities, including research and information dissemination; policy workshops, forums, and conferences; technical assistance for community-based organizations; media relations; and outreach to minority organizations.
Place Matters was launched in June 2006 by HPI as a nationwide initiative designed to improve the health outcomes of participating communities through shared learning experiences. The program assists participating teams in developing and implementing community-based strategies to address the social factors that determine health. Scientific research indicates that changing the social determinants of health is crucial to promoting health equity and reducing disparities. Unfortunately, systematic and data-based conversion of this knowledge into policy and practice has been limited, particularly at the local level. The Place Matters initiative aims to address this gap by cultivating new leadership and advancing the Fair Health Movement—one community at a time.
HPI is based in Washington, DC, where it can inform members of Congress and national organizations on issues of concern. HPI also reaches out to a broad spectrum of audiences, including public officials, community leaders, and policy makers.