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Healthy Communities Nurture Healthy People

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s vision is Healthy People in Healthy Communities. Our health equity effort focuses on improving community health, so people can be healthy. 

Where you live shouldn’t predict how healthy you are or how long you live, but in Pierce County, it does. People who live less than a mile apart can have much different health outcomes. If you look at zip codes in Lakewood, for example, you’ll find a difference in life expectancy of about eight years between 98498—about 79 years—and 98439—about 71 years. 

We have unfair differences in health throughout our county, but we can do something about it. The Health Department works with partner agencies to change this trend through community action. 

Effective action takes community partnerships. 

I had an opportunity to enjoy an Eastside Tacoma block party one Sunday afternoon in August. People smiled as they gathered at Roosevelt Park to eat, listen to live music, and visit with neighbors. School-age children got backpacks with school supplies, and parents connected with local service organizations, city services representatives, and much more. Kids of all ages played soccer with new goals—the product of a community-led purchasing decision. Residents decided what they wanted to spend money on to improve community health. The Health Department supplied funding and support for the project. 

That’s healthy living through community action. 

Some communities already have the potential to be healthier. They just need a little help to get there. The Health Department:

  • Coordinates efforts.
  • Gets partners involved.
  • Finds new investments.
  • Empowers communities to plan and decide how to move forward.

 We call this initiative Communities of Focus. 

A focus on community health empowers people. 

The central strategy of the Communities of Focus initiative is to put residents in charge. When community members are in control of health where they live, learn, work, and play, projects and improvements reflect their priorities. This is different from strategies that don’t always work because the community has no—or little—say in the effort. 

Our Communities of Focus initiative began with three communities:

  • Eastside Tacoma (98404).
  • Springbrook (98499).
  • Key Peninsula (98394). 

This year, we added three more:

  • South Tacoma (98409).
  • Parkland (98444).
  • White River (98391). 

We will add to this list as we collaborate with more community members and partners. 

You can get involved. You know your needs and your neighborhood better than anyone, so we want to partner with you to decide how to use resources to improve your community’s health. Ready to get started? Contact us at

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