Improving Health Equity through Asset Based Community Development

In May of 2023, a workbook was released on Improving Health Equity through ABCD (Asset Based Community Development) written by ABCD Institute Stewards Darryl Answer and Ron Dwyer-Voss.

Available in both Spanish and English, this workbook can serve as a valuable tool for community and neighbors to pick up control of their health while garnering the support of local organizations for their goals and efforts.


Below is an excerpt:

ABCD (Asset Based Community Development) is a methodology that communities can use to build on their existing strengths, resources, and potential. It acknowledges the simple truth that community members are empowered, active, and autonomous participants in the process of improving their own lives.

This workbook series (Improving Health Equity through ABCD and Using Data to Tell Your Community’s Story) was developed over the course of a peer-learning initiative sponsored by Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) in 2022. Our goal is to help you improve health equity in your community by recognizing data as an important asset, and by using the ABCD approach to use data to your advantage. These workbooks highlight the importance of data and provide guidance and tools to build powerful communities.

DASH is a national initiative that helps communities share data to bring about health equity. DASH is co-led by the Illinois Public Health Institute and the Michigan Public Health Institute Together, the two institutes make up the DASH Program Office, which is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

What is health equity?

Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. As more health data becomes available to us, it’s clear that there is an urgent need for more work that results in health equity for all. We know that building power locally, with others is valuable. The resulting collective power becomes a vehicle for sustainable community development and impacts health equity. This workbook offers ways for everyone to recognize the assets of a community and the strengths of its residents. When we do these things, we can move toward health equity together.

As we pursue greater health equity using an asset-based community development approach, we know that there are many variables that impact the results we want. These variables include power sharing, sustainable work, fair access to quality housing, education, local environmental conditions, and decent and affordable medical care. An important element of health equity in a community is when its members realize their individual and collective power to create change.


View the full workbook here:



In May of 2023, Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) released the workbooks Improving Health Equity through ABCD and Using Data to Tell Your Community’s Story over the course of DASH’s ABCD funding program in 2022.

The workbooks highlight the importance of data and provide guidance and tools to build powerful communities. Multi-sector data can support better practices, inform policy, identify how current systems reinforce inequity, and challenge dominant narratives.

DASH maintains that people represented by data must play meaningful interpretative and decision-making roles in the data-sharing process. We believe that powerful community-driven initiatives come about when ABCD (Asset Based Community Development Institute) organizers understand the importance of data.


Photo by Eric Tayong Hicale on

Going Further:


About the Lead Author

Darryl Answer
Darryl Answer
Rev. Darryl Answer is the founding and lead pastor of New Community Church, a recent church plant in Kansas City, MO. Darryl’s work as a pastor and consultant centers on poverty alleviation, racial reconciliation and community development.

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