Pritpal S Tamber is an independent writer, researcher and consultant focusing on community health. His work examines the realities of bridging the health sector and communities. It is fuelled by the insight that health care is increasingly unsustainable because clinical science and practice fail to appreciate how people and communities define their health. Tamber writes a regular newsletter called Community & Health. It includes reviewing often-overlooked evidence, sharing the work of courageous community-oriented practitioners, and commenting on work described as ‘community health’ or the ‘social determinants of health’. His work builds on several projects that he has founded and run since 2013, including the Creating Health Collaborative, a highly-curated meeting of community-oriented practitioners willing to share the realities of their health-related work, and Community Agency & Health, a two-day symposium in Oakland, CA, that explored how the health sector might work differently to better understand communities. Through his work, Pritpal S Tamber has learnt that health care’s inability to appreciate health as more than ‘the absence of disease’ has fuelled medicalisation, health care inflation and the rise of non-communicable chronic conditions. To help overcome this, he has discerned 12 practice-based principles for how to build a bridge between the health sector and communities. For the health sector, the principles encourage its leaders to acknowledge people’s social contexts, something that is known to be responsible for up to 80% of health. For communities, the principles have the potential to foster their agency – their ability to influence their circumstances. This is known to be fundamental to health. Pritpal S Tamber is a former physician, medical editor and medical publisher, and also the former Physician Editor of TEDMED. He began his career at The BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal).