Healhy Democracy Healthy People


“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.”

— Herophilus, Greek physician

When democracy is absent, people can not live healthy lives and our communities can not thrive. Our democracy is foundational to the health of our communities: the healthcare policies we vote on, the greenspaces that make our air cleaner, the federal funding that changes when we fill out our Census forms.

To help understand these connections, we launched the Health & Democracy Index, which compares 12 public health indicators and voter turnout to the Cost of Voting Index for U.S. states for the 2020 general election. The methods section includes a link to a full data table and more research references on these topics.

View the webinar introducing the Health & Democracy Index below and promote the Index with social media, messaging, and graphics in our toolkit.

On January 11, 2023 HDHP hosted a powerful briefing featuring guest speakers and panelists that discussed the health sector's role in promoting inclusive democratic practices. Watch the recording here.

Evidence Based Strategies to Promote Voter Participation

Healthy Democracy Healthy People collaborated with several partners in both the public health and civic participation sectors to create a list of evidence based strategies that are shown to promote voter participation. These strategies range from actionable ways public health departments, organizations, and professionals can engage the public with information about voter registration and the voting process to policies that promote a healthy inclusive democracy which can be supported by the health sector by sharing the relationship between inclusive voter participation and health equity. To see this list of evidence based strategies, click here.

Voter Registration and Opportunities to Expand Inclusion

The first critical step to voter participation is registration, and yet we know disparities exist in the registered population. This webinar reviews policies and approaches that impact voter registration, outlines the current landscape of challenges and opportunities in registering the hardest-to-reach populations, and explores innovative ways to promote voter registration, such as automatic voter registration specifically through state Medicaid programs. View the recording below and find the slides and other resources here.

September 19, 2022: Healthy Democracy Healthy People Coalition Sent Letter to HHS on Promoting Voting

The Healthy Democracy Healthy People coalition, along with leaders across the public health, healthcare, and civic engagement sectors, sent the Biden Administration a set of recommendations to strengthen civic and voter participation through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The Coalition is unified on the understanding that when more people are engaged in democracy people and communities are healthier. Civic and voter participation is strongly associated with health disparities: states and countries that have more accessible voting policies and higher levels of civic participation are healthier across multiple public health measures. Improving health disparities can only be achieved by fully addressing the social and political determinants of health, including civic and voter participation.

The letter expressed appreciation for the actions HHS has already taken such as, establishing voting metrics as a research objective in Healthy People 2030 and offering guidance for voter registration in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). Additionally, we assert there is more that HHS can do to actively support civic engagement, especially as one of the largest federal agencies that directly touches Americans’ lives. The Coalition letter made three recommendations of actions HHS can take to strengthen civic and voter participation and advance health and racial equity. These recommendations include:

To read the full letter, click here.

Civic Health Month

Healthy Democracy Healthy People coalition has been a key partner of Civic Health Month since its founding in 2020 by Vote-ER, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that equips healthcare providers with resources to register their patients to vote. Civic Health Month brings together organizations from civic engagement, healthcare, and public health spaces that are committed to supporting strong and healthy communities through voter participation.

Join Healthy Democracy Healthy People, the NASEM Roundtable on Population Health Improvement, APHA, County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, NPHL,and  Vot-ER for two Civic Health Month Virtual Sessions that will explore effective ways public health agencies and leaders are promoting a healthier inclusive democracy and a historical and political context for American democracy and voting policy.