Skip to main content

Health & Well-Being

parents help a child ride a bike

Ensuring each individual’s health and well-being is essential for community resilience. The more resilient that a community is, the more likely its members will be to preserve their physical and mental health, and sustain their education, employment, housing and economic stability.  Moreover, increasing community resilience helps enable individuals to prepare for and recover from adverse events.

When considering the health of an individual, experts consider both the length of life and quality of life. Several factors influence the health potential of an individual, including healthy behaviors and access to and quality of preventative care, treatments, and medical information. The physical environment in which people live, including assess to clean water and air, housing, and transportation, are also important factors that influence health and well-being.

However, one of the strongest predictors of health is the social and economic conditions of an individual throughout the lifetime—social determinants of health (SDOH)1. These include access to education, job opportunity, family and social support, income, and the safety of the community in which they live. Those who experience conditions such as poverty, growing up in a single parent household, lack of social support, income inequality, domestic violence, and violent crime are more likely to suffer negative health outcomes, largely due to unusually high and prolonged stress. Such stressful conditions increase the chance of many health problems, including (but not limited to) hypertension, heart disease, stroke, depression, and other mental health conditions1. As such, identifying and addressing the societal and economic issues that drive inequality through improving access to resources, promoting stronger social connections, and changing policy that cause such detrimental conditions is critical for improving community resilience.

Research under this pillar is related to the environmental, economic, and social conditions that foster healthy and thriving communities.

Example Research Topics

  • Assessing how access to environmental amenities impacts physical and mental health
  • Investigating the role of human and social capital on community resilience
  • Examining food system security with respect to sustainable and environmentally respectful practices
  • Assessing the impact of poor air quality and vulnerable populations

1Hood, C. M., Gennuso, K. P., Swain, G. R., & Catlin, B. B. (2016). County health rankings: relationships between determinant factors and health outcomes. American journal of preventive medicine, 50(2), 129-135.

HCRI Pillars

Built Environment  Natural Environment  Economy & Society
The HCRI research pillars capture the interconnection between and amongst disciplines, highlighting the dynamic and multifaceted nature of community resilience. Our goal in promoting these pillars is the foster connections and collaborations between disciplines and across sectors.

Natural Environment

The health of our plance, natural resources natural hazards, risk, risk education, and climate change.

Economy and Society

Economic and social conditions that (1) allow communities to prepare for, respond to and recover form adverse natural events and economic shocks, and (2) foster thriving, healthy communities.

Built Environment

Reliability and strength of critical infrastructure (communications, power grid, buildings built to hazard code), and systems faciliators or inhibitors to improve or build stronger infrastructure (e.g., capital, policy).

Health and Well-being

Environmental and social conditions that foster healthy thriving communities.