Building Containers for Health Equity Work

January 2024

These resources for public health organizations share principles, practices, and tools for building containers and implementing heart-centered practices in their equity work.

Building a container for your equity work is necessary for effective, sustained practice. But what is a container? And how do you build it? This introductory resource provides an overview of why ‘building your container’ as a team is essential, particularly if you want to hold space for the conflict, emotions, accountability, and hard work inherent in advancing health equity and racial justice. We review the key elements and principles of building a container, and provide resources and tools to experiment with your container. 

Additionally, we offer a deeper-dive resource that talks through what we mean by “head and heart integration,” and provides an overview of the Window of Tolerance tool as a mechanism to help build your container

For more information about these resources, please contact

Funding for this initiative is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under award 6 NU38OT000306-04-02 entitled National Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities Among Populations at High-Risk and Underserved, Including Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations and Rural Communities. 

We appreciate the generosity and partnership of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) in making the development of these resources possible.