Environmental and health inequities are often left unconnected in equity research. Inequity also goes unseen in rural areas. This project contributes to better integration of environmental justice with broader equity research and policy. By mapping environmental and health inequities together, this CoLab will explore unseen connections of social and environmental resilience.

The Equity Atlas provides visualization of geospatial data related to disparities in education, transportation, health, and other areas of social well-being.  HEARR is an emerging alliance among community organizations and health providers in the Albemarle-Buckingham-Fluvanna-Nelson-Esmont-Scottsville region with a shared goal of addressing racial and health disparities and improving health for residents of this rural area. This is a region residing well within the footprint of the University of Virginia and the UVA Health System, but still struggling from the effects of many compounding environmental, racial, and health inequities. Working with the Institute for Environmental Negotiation and the Equity Initiative, the HEARR alliance seeks to map community assets and opportunities within this rural region to identify gaps and opportunities for community-led, healthy community projects that build trust and demonstrate the potential for multi-sector collaboration in rural population healthy behavior and health services. These projects will address issues of racial, gender, age, and other disparities and focus on actions that lead to measurable improvements.

This CoLab is a project of the UVA Equity Initiative. The  UVA Equity Atlas is an outgrowth of an ongoing collaboration with the Health Equity and Access Rural Region (HEARR) Community Solutions Project. This CoLab is producing a regional community-driven mapping tool from HEARR’s process and integrating it into the decision-making tools of the Equity Atlas. The Equity Atlas is an advocacy and policy-making tool developed to increase equitable decision-making in the region. It serves as a national model for the use of open data, citizen science, and as a guide for better decision-making processes that incorporate the local knowledge of vulnerable communities into resilient planning projects.