Team Profile Summary

The mission of the Orleans Parish team is to advocate for polices that promote safe, healthy learning environments for youth and families. The team’s is focused on keeping children in quality schools and in providing access to educational services for youth and adults who have been out of school for significant periods of time.

New Orleans, Louisiana is an ideal setting for exploring new approaches to youth interventions for a number of reasons. The city-level YRBSS results for 2005 indicate that New Orleans youth exceed the rest of the U.S. youth population in rates of carrying guns (9.0% vs. 5.4%), being threatened or injured by a weapon at school (15% vs. 8%), participating in a physical fight (46% vs. 36%), and being involved with dating violence (21% vs. 9%).

Team Profile Details

Problem Statement

Many of the current social challenges in New Orleans have resulted from the erosion of family and social support networks in the wake of the flood. Youth are lacking safe places to live and play, environments that are conducive to learning, and positive outlets for social development. The community is interested in building these resources back up as part of re-development efforts.

Policy Recommendations 

Keeping Students in School and Out of Prison

  1. Develop a centralized/uniform expulsion policy among charter and non-charter schools within Recovery School District and New Orleans Public Schools.
  2. Provide training for school resource officers, security guards or school-based police officers.
  3. Implement a one-day bi-annual external review of school expulsions and long-term suspensions.
  4. Eliminate expulsion in primary grades with exception of use or attempted use of deadly weapon.
  5. Offer alternatives to incarceration including school based teen courts, peer mediation programming, and restorative justice programming.
  6. Create greater disincentives to expel or suspend students for more than 1 day.
  7. Make homework services mandatory for all out of school suspensions and expulsions.
  8. Conduct annual assessment of needs of truants and youth who are “disconnected.”

Providing Opportunities for Those Who Have Been Incarcerated

  1. Fund and create reentry programs that meet the needs of the New Orleans metro area.
  2. Provide educational services (at least GED prep) in all correctional facilities.
  3. Decrease the cost of an expungement.
  4. Youth offenders of low-level drug offenses should receive an alternative to incarceration and mandatory drug counseling. Upon completion those records should be destroyed.
  5. Automate the removal of criminal records after 10 years.
  6. Provide free expungement services to the formerly incarcerated through monthly bazaars.

Addressing Mental Health Needs of Youth and Families

  1. Create an automatic mental health referral system for students who receive more than two disciplinary actions per semester (half-year).
  2. Increase schools’ and families’ fiscal capacity to make school-based mental health services available to students.
  3. Increase the number of inpatient beds for adolescents and provide transitional services such as counseling and outpatient therapy.
  4. Ensure that schools dedicate appropriate resources to social-emotional wellness.

Developing Student Centric Policies

  1. Authorize system-wide student satisfaction surveys that incorporate students as researchers.
  2. Develop peer health educators that conduct school climate studies, which include health and mental health assessments, social emotional wellness batteries and in-school needs assessments.
  3. Ensure that per-pupil expenditures follow children to other educational settings.
  4. Ensure that state allocations to supportive services are place at levels that meet the needs that are assessed by students in traditional and non-traditional settings.
  5. Formalize ethnic studies programs in schools that receive public funding.

Team Profile Summary

The Prince George’s County team consists of a broad section of participants from public health, education, health advocacy non-profits, local elected officials, land use planners, and residents committed to advancing health through systematically advocating for sound policy and activities that address the systems determinants of health.  The team’s focus is addressing food equity though establishing a Food Policy Council and working with the County’s recreation department to design and implement after school healthy eating and active living programs reaching county elementary schools.

Promoting this throughout the county will begin by creating a model in the Port Towns of Bladensburg, Colmar Manor, Cottage City, and Edmonston.  These incorporated areas have drafted a Community Action Plan with strategies that will provide insights on how to reduce chronic disease in Prince George’s County.  The Community Action Plan was completed through the generous support of Kaiser Permanente, Consumer Health Foundation, United Way of the National Capital Area, and Meyer Foundation.  It is intended that this approach will be replicated in other similar municipalities in the County.

Team Profile Details

Problem Statement

Prince George’s County is the most diverse in Maryland with 80% of the population belonging to minority groups. Despite its rich diversity, the 2010 census put 8% of households as living below the poverty line. The average poverty level for Prince George’s County however masks the deep inequalities that exist within the four Port Towns. Cottage city, for example, has more than 21% of its population living below the poverty line. Bladensburg has a poverty level of 12%, while Colmar Manor and Edmonston have poverty levels of 2% and 9% respectively. With the exception of Colmar Manor, the Port Towns communities are amongst the poorest in Prince George’s County and Maryland state.

Team Objectives

  1. Improve healthy food access and wellness for all through food policy and action.
  2. Create reliable public transit bike and pedestrian access to schools, recreational facilities and other Port Towns assests.
  3. Enhance community capacity to lead and support the Community Action Plan (CAP) and the Wellness Opportunity Zone.

Team Profile Summary

The Washington, DC team is taking a different, upstream approach to health equity. The team’s vision is to see that “DC is a place where health equity is prioritized in all policies and where we live no longer determines how healthy we are.” However, rather than focusing on treating individuals, the DC team works with the community to develop and implement strategies and policies that focus on fundamental causes and systemic roots of the health issue to promote equitable health in DC. The team’s mission statement is to “[focus] on creating equitable and healthy neighborhoods through connecting long-term planning with everyday concerns.”

The team also proposes goals, which include:

  • Building solidarity with the community seeing them as the most valuable resource.
  • Creating a collective consciousness around fundamental  (education, economic development, poverty, racism) issues through engaging all sectors in the development of policy.
  • Ensuring the equitable implementation of policies through accountability.

Team Profile Details

Problem Statement

The 2007 release of “F as in Fat”, a report of the Alliance for America’s Health, identifying District youth as having the highest rates of obesity in the country, provided an important catalyst that prompted Department support for staff efforts to build a broad base of support for addressing the obesity crisis and likely Council funding for same. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity constitute a healthcare burden that directly and/or indirectly affects the majority of residents in the District of Columbia. The incidence of these chronic diseases has grown to epidemic proportions, and the District’s community has been affected at higher rates than the nation as a whole.

  • More than 160,000 residents have cardiovascular disease.
  • Approximately 35,000 residents have diabetes.
  • Over half of the District’s population is overweight with 115,000 of those residents being obese.

Team Objectives

  • Build solidarity with community, seeing them as the most valuable resource.
  • Create a collective consciousness around fundamental issues (ex: education, economic development, poverty, racism) through engaging all sectors in the development of policy.
  • Ensure the equitable implementation of policies through accountability.

Community Partners

  • – Metro Washington Public Health Association
  • – DC Primary Care Association
  • – ONE DC
  • – Bread for the City

Healthy Affordable Food for All

Team Profile Summary

The Cuyahoga team’s focus is to ensure health implications and equity considerations are in the forefront as policy makers and others make decisions that substantially impact the residents of Cuyahoga County and the neighborhoods in which County residents live. To that end, the Cuyahoga County team exists to:

  1. Focus on a broader definition of health. Health is not simply the absence of disease.  Health begins where people live, work, learn, age and play. Health includes the social conditions one lives in, such as the jobs we do, the money we’re paid, the schools we attend, the neighborhoods we live, as well as our genes, our behaviors, and our medical care.
  2. Inform, influence and engage policy-makers and community members to develop policies, using an overarching health equity lens, that have long-term impacts, create conditions for optimal health and reduce inequities; and
  3. Utilize “place-based” interventions to engage and empower residents in under-resourced communities to revitalize their communities.

Team Profile Details

Problem Statement

Team Objectives

  1. Build effective partnerships – creating a cohesive agenda and message(s) upon which to act
  2. Strive for equal opportunity for all – A community where there is equal access to economic, social, and environmental resources and opportunities impacting health.
  3. Equity – everyone has the ability to achieve his or her full potential and no one is disadvantaged because of social position or circumstances
  4. Place – Health begins where people live, learn work, age and play. recognizing that  neighborhood condition is the context in which health and well being begins
  5. Policy/Advocacy – we subscribe to the principle of “health in all policies”, e.g. efforts to educate policymakers on relevant issue and influence institutions, systems and community members on issues related to making policy, plans and system changes using a health equity lens
  6. Mobilize community for action – creating capacity to empower individuals and groups to take action which facilitates change within the environment and/or people within a circumscribed geographic area
  7. Measuring indicators of social determinants of health – Capture impact that the team is making toward improving selected determinants, using a dashboard of indicators; will include information from projects that have infused principles info work, e.g . core team organizational initiatives.

Community Partners:

Team Profile Summary

The Wayne County team tackles social issues related to infant mortality such as social isolation of young girls and gender pay equity. Out team identified the five Social Determinants of Health affecting infant mortality:

  1. Education
  2. Employment
  3. Social Isolation
  4. Social Perception of Girls and Women and
  5. Structural Racism

Team Profile Details

Problem Statement

High Infant Mortality and Disparity in Infant Mortality in Wayne County, Michigan currently ranks among the worst five states with regard to racial and ethnic disparities in Infant Mortality Rates (IMR). In Wayne County Infant Mortality is more than twice as prevalent in African-American population as compared to whites (16/1,000 13.7/1000 of live births versus 5.6/1000live births respectively as of 2006). While this disparity is largely due to higher low birth weights in the African-Americans as compared to Caucasians (12.1%versus 6.7% of live births) the Wayne County Infant Mortality Team (TEAM) recognizes that Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) impact pregnancy outcomes and for a significant and sustained reduction in Infant Mortality these SDOH will need to be addressed.

Team Objectives and Actions

  1. Distribution of White Paper to Stakeholders informing them of the problem. Have a committed group of Stakeholders that champion and/or implement strategies that increase self assurance and self reliance in women.
  2. Increased Community Dialogue on valuing womanhood and the value of improved preconception and inter conception health.
  3. Institutionalization of policies that value womanhood

The Wayne County Infant Mortality Reduction Steering Committee includes the following partners:

TEAM PROFILE SUMMARY

The Collaborative for Heath Equity-Cook County (CHE Cook County) works to eliminate structural racism so that all people of Cook County have the opportunity to live healthy lives. First, CHE Cook County raises awareness about the existence of stark and unacceptable health inequities that disproportionately affect people of color. Second, we challenge the root causes of health inequities by advocating policy change. Food justice is the policy focus for CHE Cook County. Third, CHE Cook County builds power among low income communities of color by forming alliances with base-building organizations to support campaigns that will create the living conditions necessary for good health.

TEAM PROFILE DETAILS

CHE Cook County is a multi-sector collaborative of people and organizations. It is governed by a Steering Committee of twelve people who work in community and labor organizing, youth leadership, disability rights, public education at the primary and university levels, social service, health policy, and governmental public health. The Steering Committee meets quarterly to guide committee work and the part-time staff donated by the Cook County Department of Public Health. Milestones include: The release in July 2012 of a health equity report, which garnered the support of County elected officials and media attention; screenings and community discussions of the documentary films Unnatural Causes and The Raising of America; policy advocacy through testimony, radio interviews, social media, newsletters and fact sheets, public protests, and meetings with elected officials; presentation to the Institute of Medicine of National Academy of Sciences in 2014.  CHE Cook County has developed partnerships with organizations including Austin Coming Together (Chicago); Backbones (Chicagoland); Centers For New Horizons (Bronzeville, Chicago); Food Chain Workers Alliance (national); Human Action Community Organization (Harvey); Lambda Tau Omega Chapter Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (south suburbs); Midwest Latino Health Research, Training, and Policy Center (regional); The Raising of America (national); Restaurant Opportunities Center Chicago (ROC Chicago); and the University of Illinois at Chicago B.A. in Public Health Program.

PROBLEM STATEMENT

CHE Cook County documented a 14-year difference in life expectancy between residents living in areas with a median income greater than $53,000 per year and people living in neighborhoods with a median income below $25,000. The long history of high levels of racial residential segregation in metropolitan Chicago reflects structural racism and remains uninterrupted. Less than 10% of poor children who are white live in high-poverty neighborhoods. In contrast, 75% of poor children who are black and 45% of poor children who are Latino are subjected to the toxic consequences of concentrated poverty. The booming Chicago-area restaurant industry contributes to health inequities by discriminatory hiring practices in which people of color and women are employed in lower-wage ‘back-of-the-house’ work and experience higher levels of harassment and hazards than do people who are white men. Surveys show that the richest–and largely white– 1% of Illinois residents oppose policy needed for health-equity while at the same time having political influence disproportionate to their numbers because of their extreme wealth. The collective action of ‘People Power’ is one solution to remedy the imbalance of money, power and resources, fulfill the human right to health, and achieve health equity in Cook County.

Team Profile Summary

Equity Matters supports a vision for Baltimore City in which all children, youth, adults and elders have equal access to social, educational, political, employment and health, equal respect as it pertains to law enforcement and justice policies, and equal opportunity to participate as flourishing members of society through healthy, equitable policies that promote development.

Team Profile Details

Problem Statement

Baltimore is the largest city in the state of Maryland, with over 620,000 residents. Although the majority of residents are African American, certain pockets of the city are predominately white and persistent inequities exist between the white and non-white neighborhoods. These inequities are primarily due to historic racial and residential segregation that continues to perpetuate poor outcomes for residents in high-poverty areas. As such, the Baltimore team seek to expand their efforts and focus on promoting equity in all polices, particularly those related to racism, housing, and education.

Team Objectives

The team focuses on three action areas to achieve this vision:

1.      Policy advocacy for “health in all policies”

2.      Facilitating interdisciplinary, interagency collaboration for policy, programs and research focusing on social determinants of health

3.      Civic engagement and community based participatory research

Community Partners:

Team Profile Summary

The Boston team frames its work around racism as a root cause of inequities in health and recognizes comprehensive, multilevel racial justice strategies as fundamental to achieving racial and health equity. Our work is rooted in the understanding that health status is influenced by environmental conditions, social relationships, and institutional structures and that individual choices and behavior are largely shaped by the resources available in the places where people live and work. The Boston team is focused on changing policy and practice within the systems that shape the health of our communities, such as: education, criminal justice, employment, housing, land use and food systems.

Team Profile Details

The activities of the Boston team are reflected in these guiding principles:

Team Objectives

Team Profile Summary

California’s San Joaquin Valley is home to enormous agricultural production and associated wealth, environmental degradation, and grinding poverty for both rural farm families and abandoned urban neighborhoods:  in this place, the intersections of neighborhood quality of life and unequal life and health opportunities face us each day.  Broad inequities in health are at least in part created and sustained by cumulative exposure to poverty, inadequate housing and transportation, poor air and air quality, and access to jobs, schools, and recreation.  The Collaborative for Health Equity: San Joaquin Valley (SJV) Where People, Place and Power Matters is a collaborative effort between the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State and leading regional and neighborhood organizations and individuals working for equity in population health, access to culturally respectful health care, safe air and water, healthy food access, physical activity environments, and affordable, sustainable housing and development.   Our collaboration creates a network for sharing information and interpretation of historical and current living conditions, ensures the dissemination and application of new concepts and research findings, and assists members in framing policy positions and program directions.

Core Team Profile Details

John Capitman, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute and Nickerson Professor of Public Health at Fresno State. Capitman leads Institute activities in applied health research, policy analysis, technical assistance, and education. His current research focuses on how social, economic, and environmental factors influence population health in the San Joaquin Valley and increasing the capacity of local organizations to address these factors. Capitman also co-facilitates the Health Policy Leadership Program and teaches about rural health and health disparities. Capitman also serves on the Governing Board of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Contact information: 559.228.2157 or [email protected]

Marlene Bengiamin, Ph.D., is the Research Director at Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State. Bengiamin co-leads the institute’s research and administrative activities. Bengiamin is among 480 individuals worldwide who have been trained by Harvard Medical School and internationally acclaimed faculty in mental health and trauma and recovery. Her current work includes analysis of vital San Joaquin Valley health challenges such as maternal mental health, adequacy and quality of health care for uninsured and underinsured adults, adequacy of prenatal care, environmental influences on health, and social determinants of rural/urban disparities, Regional health policy leadership development and health professional shortages. Contact information: 559.228.2167 or [email protected]

Sandra Celedon-Castro, a public health practitioner and Hub Manager for Fresno Building Healthy Communities, is responsible for guiding and supporting multi-sector, diverse stakeholder collaboration in order to foster and encourage thriving communities where all children and families can live healthy, safe and productive lives. Sandra adheres to the public health principles which recognize that all people must have access to the resources necessary for health and that people and their physical environment are interdependent; when one is damaged it will have an adverse effect on the other. This is why she dedicates herself to building healthy communities. Contact information: [email protected].

Venise Curry, M.D., is the Regional Director of Communities for a New California Education Fund, and advocate for equitable resources, empowering families and addressing issues of quality education, access to health care, and clean air, using the organizing principle that “organized people, plus organized resources, plus changing the narrative equals power. She has applied her clinical background and experience to educating and empowering families about issues they have identified as important- education, land use and environmental justice. Contact information: [email protected].

Kevin Hamilton, RRT, RCP ED, is the Executive Director of the Central California Asthma Coalition, and leads regional initiatives to address the root causes of asthma inequalities, support schools and other child serving organizations in managing environmental exposures and care for asthmatic children, and demonstrates key interventions to improve clinical care management for asthmatics. He has been a key leader in regional environmental quality initiatives and collaborative efforts to reduce neighborhood, racial/ethnic and social class inequalities in health.

Cassandra Joubert, ScD, is the Director of the Central California Children’s Institute at California State University, Fresno.  She is currently a member of the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Public Health, and the principal author of a book on children’s mental health. She has served on a number of nonprofit boards focusing on children’s issues, and has been an advocate for children throughout her career. Contact information: 559.228.2166 or [email protected]

Amanda Conley, M.A., is a communication specialist at the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State. Conley received a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Journalism from California State University, Fresno and a master’s degree in Sociology from San Jose State University with an emphasis in social inequality. She has professional experience in both communication and institutional research and evaluations. Contact information: 559.228.2159 or [email protected]

Tania Pacheco-Werner, Ph.D., is a Postgraduate Fellow at the Central Valley Health Policy Institute and Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Sociology at Fresno State. Her areas of research include policy analysis, immigrant and men’s health, health-seeking behavior, food and environment systems, and methodology. Contact information: 559.228.2162 or [email protected]

Emanuel Alcala, M.A., a Research Analyst at the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State, has presented findings on the social and environmental determinants of health that lead to poor health outcomes, which is pervasive in the region. Specifically, he investigates the health outcomes of communities with higher levels of air pollution and poverty, and documented the detrimental impacts of racial/ethnic segregation on childhood preventable hospitalizations, elderly preventable hospitalizations, and premature mortality. Contact information: 559.228.2128 or [email protected]

Problem Statement

Known as “the nation’s salad bowl”, the San Joaquin Valley is considered California’s top agricultural producing region, with five of its counties ranking among the state’s top 10 farm producers.  Other important industries in the region include gas and oil, with the deepest well and half of the largest oil fields in Kern County.  The Elkhorn Hills Naval Petroleum Reserve and Lemoore Naval Air Station are also in this bioregion.

With an estimated 3.5 million residents, San Joaquin Valley is one of the poorest regions in the United States, but also a source of enormous wealth. The San Joaquin Valley has a sizeable immigrant population with high poverty and low educational attainment. Disparities in health status within the San Joaquin Valley reflect, in part, historical geographic patterns that have resulted in vulnerable populations living in areas where conditions such as exposure to environmental hazards create greater health risks.

The overall pattern suggests that socioeconomic conditions in low-income and non-white neighborhoods make it more difficult for people in these neighborhoods to live healthy lives. The percentage of the population without a high school diploma in the San Joaquin Valley (30%) is more than twice the percentage of people in the U.S. (14.7%) without a high school diploma. The rate of premature deaths (years of potential life lost before the age 65) in the lowest-income zip codes of the San Joaquin Valley is nearly twice that of those in the highest-income zip codes. Life expectancy varies by as much as 21 years in the San Joaquin Valley depending on zip code. Areas of the San Joaquin Valley with the highest levels of respiratory risk have the highest percentage of Hispanic residents (55%), while areas with the lowest level of respiratory risk have the lowest percentage of Hispanic residents (38%). One in six children in the San Joaquin Valley is diagnosed with asthma before the age of 18, an epidemic level.

Team Objectives

The Valley continues to experience significant place-based inequities, which is a focus of the Collaborative for Health Equity: San Joaquin Valley (CHE: SJV) team’s work from both public health and health care perspectives. The CHE: SJV team serves as a convener of place-based initiatives in the region and supports their efforts to address inequities.  These activities include:

1. Research and Policy Analysis- CHE: SJV team members work with the San Joaquin Valley Public Health Consortium (SJVPHC) which is a uniquely regional approach to serving the public health needs of the San Joaquin Valley. Members of the Consortium include the Central California County Public Health Directors, Deputy and Assistant Directors, and Health Officers from Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare counties, and Associate members from regional academic institutions and other organizations. The vision of the SJVPHC is to achieve health equity for all residents in the San Joaquin Valley by providing leadership for a regional health agenda that addresses the social determinants of health in the San Joaquin Valley.

2. Regional Leadership Program and Training- We are committed to facilitating the development of health and healthcare policies and programs in the San Joaquin Valley. With guidance from nationally-recognized health equity experts and local and regional emerging leaders in public health, the Health Policy Leadership Health Equity Project (HPLP-HEP) was developed and evolved over the past 10 years to serve the professional growth and development of emerging local and regional leaders as they explore key issues in health policy.

3. Organizational and Community Technical Assistance– CHE: SJV team supports two Building Health Communities sites, funded by the California Endowment in the Valley providing technical assistance, in the form of policy analysis and use of evidence-based research, to organizations and teams in the Fresno Building Healthy Communities programs around framing local policy debates. At the core of Building Healthy Communities (BHC) is a commitment to addressing the social determinants of health through a place-based approach. Yet moving from the emergent science in public health that shows how neighborhoods concentrate resources and barriers for human development and well-being to real changes in the multiple local policies, environments, and programs is challenging.

  1. Fellowships and Internships- CHE: SJV team offers Health Equity, Public health and health policy analysis and applied research training to post graduate and undergraduate students and emerging professionals. We conduct systematic outreach to current and prospective academic and public health partners to offer fellowship opportunities to postgraduates and emerging professionals interested in advancing health equity to develop, implement projects and disseminate findings. We also work in partnership with the UC Berkley School of Public Health “Health Career Connection” (HCC) program inspires and empowers undergraduate students and recent graduates to successfully pursue health careers by offering a 10-week health care internship during summer.

Team Profile Summary

The Mississippi counties of Sharkey and Issaquena are served by the South Delta team. The South Delta team is constituted by the Sharkey Issaquena Health Network (SIHN), an organization, which brings together the healthcare and health-related agencies of the South Delta. Almost 9% of 3-4 year olds enrolled in Head Start in the region are obese and are at risk for diabetes and high blood pressure-health problems that are very prevalent in the counties. The South Delta team has identified several excellent programs developed by the National Institutes of Health, the USDA, the American Heart Association and others to help families and community groups teach children to form healthy habits to reverse this trend.

Problem Statement

The Mississippi Delta leads the nation in hypertension, diabetes and the deadly consequences of those chronic diseases. Obesity and its roots—consist of a lack of exercise and poor diet—which are major underlying causes of hypertension and diabetes. Mississippi leads the nation in obesity.

Team Objectives

The South Delta Team will address the social determinants of obesity and chronic disease in our community. Through community forums and programs that address lifestyles, we are increasing awareness of the problem and its potential solution. We are working on improving access to healthy foods and opportunities for exercise in our communities. As we develop partners in the community through these efforts, we are beginning to network with others in the state and the nation to empower our community to address the policies and social and economic conditions that must be changed to bring about health equity here.

Community Partners