Extension's National Framework for Health Equity


In 2012, the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy ECOP appointed a National Task Force on Health to identify systemwide priorities for guiding Cooperative Extension’s work in the area of health for the next three to five years. Approved by ECOP in 2014, Cooperative Extension’s National Framework for Health and Wellness, was instrumental in establishing work in the area of health as a priority for the Cooperative Extension System. It also served to raise the visibility of Cooperative Extension’s health -related work and catalyzed the establishment of new programs, partnerships, and professional development opportunities for staff.

Recognizing the need for updated guidance for its work in this area, ECOP appointed a Health Innovation Task Force in 2020 to provide recommendations for system level change that would further advance Cooperative Extension’s work in the area of heath. Those recommendations are included in this document.

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Well-Being Concepts

Vital Conditions for Well-Being

The updated Framework uses “well - being” rather than “wellness” to align with terminology being used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Healthy People 2030. For example, Healthy People 2030 has chosen to use “well - being” in association with “health” to reflect an individual’s “ability to meet personal and collective needs under changing conditions in society.” Well-being also aligns more closely with the construct of health-related quality of life (CDC, 2018). The term wellness is typically “used to refer to services aimed at an individual. For these and probably other reasons, practitioners and researchers working with systems and communities use the term well- being” (Roulier, 2020). As compared to wellness, the concept of well-being also includes such things as how satisfied people are with their lives as a whole, the sense of control they have over their lives, and their sense of purpose in life (New Economics Foundation, 2012). Well-being also entails being accepted into and belonging to a community, providing and receiving support from others, and acting as a legitimate contributor to a common world” (Pronk et al, 2019). Moreover, well -being focuses on creating equitable opportunities for people to thrive in every aspect of life and to create meaningful futures. This updated Framework is grounded in an examination of (1) major health-related events which have occurred since 2014, (2) changes which have occurred within Cooperative Extension over time, and (3) a review of current literature and best practices in relevant fields. Summaries of these in-depth examinations can be found in the sections which follow.


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