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Guide How to use the PHIT Community Reports

The PHIT Community Reports are designed to describe how places, institutions and policies impact health outcomes. The reports provide the research background and community-specific data for the determinants of health as well as health outcomes. While the reports provide a strong basic understanding for how health is impacted by social determinants, they should not take the place of community knowledge about how health and health equity is shaped at the local level.

Table of Contents

What topics are included in each of the PHIT Community Reports?

Each PHIT Community Report covers many different topics and has several links to additional resources.  Below is a list of the topics found in each of the 6 PHIT Community Reports:

Built Environment

  • Building Design:  Building materials, ventilation, lighting, spaces for physical activity, accessible spaces for elderly and disabled populations, and spaces for social interaction
  • Community Design:  Green and open space, access to food, transportation services and infrastructure, health care access, amenities, institutions, and community connectedness
  • Environmental Exposures:   Water quality, air quality, noise pollution, contaminated sites


  • Educational Experience:  A person’s access to education, the quality of education, the school environment, the availability of resources within a school, and educational attainment
  • Educational Outcomes:  The impact education has on a person’s future economic security, social and psychological wellbeing, and health behaviors and knowledge


  • Employment Status:  Whether a person is employed or not
  • Workplace Risk Factors:  The working conditions of employment
  • Work Organization:  A job’s structure or design or an employer’s organizational or management practices
  • Work-Related Resources:  Earnings and additional benefits provided through employment


  • Affordability and Stability:  Whether a person can afford and sustain payments for housing
  • Quality:  The physical structure and living conditions of housing
  • Homelessness:  The condition of not having stable housing

Social Environment

  • Societal Factors:  Policies and programs
  • Community Factors:  Social capital, social and cultural norms, social isolation, and social exclusion
  • Interpersonal Factors:  Interpersonal relationships
  • Individual Factors:  People’s existing attitudes, beliefs, and existing knowledge as related to health


  • Self-Directed Violence:  Suicidal behavior and self-harm
  • Interpersonal Violence:  Violence that occurs between individuals like intimate partner violence, elder abuse, youth violence, child abuse and neglect, and community violence
  • Collective Violence:   Violence resulting from social, political, and economic factors

Inequity and History Matters Call-outs found in the PHIT Community Reports

The PHIT Community Reports have Inequity Alerts and History Matters call-outs which provide critical context for analyzing the complex issues underpinning health inequities and to assist with planning, implementing, or evaluating responses.

  • Inequity Alerts: highlight societal factors such as discriminatory policies, systems, and structures that perpetuate inequitable opportunity or exposures and produce unfair health disparities
Example image of an "inequity alert" call out found in the community reports
  • History matters: highlight specific events or time periods of discriminatory practices, to inform and highlight how these events continue to impact and play out in communities.
An example image of a "history matters" call out found in the reports

Additional community engagement resources

While the PHIT Community Reports are helpful in understanding a broad set of metrics to describe the social determinants of health, they do not replace the  need to further explore these issues and how they impact each community differently.  The PHIT  encourages community engagement and community decision-making in order to better understand the factors that impact your community's health.  Please see the resources below for DPH guidelines related to community engagement and coalitions. We welcome input on other resources to include here.

Additional Resources for Additional community engagement resources

Important information to consider

The PHIT Community Reports provide a snapshot and a starting place for understanding health in your community.  They provide social determinant-related data impacting many health outcomes and health factors.  

Health outcomes and social determinants data can differ by gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and ability, along with many other characteristics. Even within one town, differences can be dramatic from one neighborhood to the next.  Understanding differences and experiences for subgroups through an exploration of health outcomes and other factors can inform community work and planning processes.  These reports were put together to aid in targeting resources where they are needed, addressing health inequities and improving the health of the whole community.

To aid in this, please consider questions such as the following when exploring data for your community:

Differences between population groups

Differences by neighborhood 

  • Does this measure differ across age groups?
  • How does this measure vary among racial or ethnic groups?
  • How does this measure vary across groups with different socioeconomic characteristics?
  • Are there specific neighborhoods, census tracts or school districts where the measure indicates a localized problem or opportunity?

 Source: Adapted from the County Health Rankings  ‘Use the Data’ guide