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The Collective for Health Equity and Well-Being

Cooperative Extension’s Collective for Health Equity and Well-Being is a community of Extension personnel and their partners united by their shared commitment to advancing health equity and well-being. Members work together to support the implementation of Cooperative Extension’s National Framework for Health Equity and Well-Being (2021) to ensure that all people can be as healthy as they can be.

Measuring What Matters: Well-Being as a Measure of Social Progress

A 2015 article by McGregor, Coulthard, and Camfield suggests changes in how we develop and evaluate the effectiveness of various policies and programs.  While authors contend that "there has been a tremendous upsurge of interest in and initiatives to develop measures of human well-being as a yardstick of societal progress." and suggest that using solely  economic measures of progress are inadequate and results in misguided. "The focus on income measures encourages an unbalanced focus on economic growth and policies that, at their worst, have proven to be unsustainable, unequal and not poverty-reducing. In order to assess whether societal development equates with progress we need measures that tell us whether development is improving human well-being or not."
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When evaluating progress toward planned, equitable improvements in "community well-being," I like Roy and colleagues' (Am J Health Promot. 2018 Nov;32(8):1800-1813. doi: 10.1177/0890117118791993)  actionable, conceptual framework. They present a dynamic, evidence-based  model to promote collective well-being (attributes of people/populations) through community-level changes in specified characteristics (attributes of place). Four categories of modifiable characteristics of community place (i.e., physical environment, psychosocial environment, systems, and economy) are shown as influencers of five collective well-being domains of people (i.e., vitality, contribution, opportunity, connectedness, inspiration). The model elucidates how/why/where local organizational leaders, policy makers, systems/sectors, and community members can use their respective influence to shape policies, programs, resource and power allocations to collectively impact, improve, and achieve community well-being equity.


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The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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