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Jessica Berthold, Jessica@preventioninstitute.org
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For Immediate Release
New project aims to support public health departments in advancing health equity
Washington, DC—Three nationally recognized organizations have embarked on a project to examine the potential for public health departments to actively pursue racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic equity in health, as well as in the systems and conditions that produce health.
The National Collaborative for Health Equity (NCHE) and Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University (Milken Institute SPH) of Washington, DC; along with Prevention Institute (PI) of Oakland, Calif., will take stock of existing public health departments’ practices and policies relevant to equity, community engagement, and social determinants of health. Using this data, they will identify opportunities and strategies that health departments can employ to advance racial, social, and health equity.
The project is funded by three grants totaling nearly $2 million from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) of Battle Creek, Mich.
“Public health departments have the potential to play a more active role in supporting and catalyzing community-wide efforts to improve the conditions that fundamentally shape health and safety,” said Brian Smedley, PhD, executive director of NCHE. “To do so, health departments must support efforts to challenge the systems and structures that produce inequity.”
NCHE will work with National Association of County and City Health Officials, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, National Indian Health Board, and select organizations in WKKF’s priority areas to examine governmental public health’s capacity to advance racial equity and community engagement. Milken Institute SPH will evaluate federal policy and current philanthropic and other public sector efforts to enhance capacity. PI will assess community-based perspectives on public health skills, assets, and capacity. The project will culminate with a final report of recommendations.
“Public health departments should be the chief health strategists for their communities,” shared Jeffrey Levi, PhD, Professor of Health Policy and Management at Milken Institute SPH. “This project should define the opportunities and challenges associated with this strategic and catalytic role.”
Sandra Viera, program manager at Prevention Institute, added “The project provides the opportunity to elevate community perspectives about what kinds of resources, supports and capacities are needed so that public health can fulfill its mission to improve health and safety outcomes across the population, with a particular focus on neighborhoods and counties where strategic investments could powerfully improve the trajectory of children and families.”
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About the National Collaborative for Health Equity
The mission of the National Collaborative for Health Equity (NCHE) is to promote health equity by harnessing evidence, developing leaders, and catalyzing partnerships across the many different sectors that share responsibility for creating a more equitable and just society. Recognizing that action, leadership, inclusion, and collaboration are the basis for driving policy decisions, NCHE strives to connect people most impacted by social and racial injustices and to transform systems and institutions built on the enduring legacy of racism, particularly its less visible – but more insidious –structural manifestations. In so doing, NCHE works towards creating conditions that foster the best possible health for all populations, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or nativity. For more information, visit www.nationalcollaborative.org.
About the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University
Established in July 1997 as the School of Public Health and Health Services, Milken Institute School of Public Health is the only school of public health in the nation’s capital. Today, more than 1,900 students from 54 U.S. states and territories and more than 50 countries pursue undergraduate, graduate and doctoral-level degrees in public health. The school also offers an online Master of Public Health, MPH@GW, and an online Executive Master of Health Administration, MHA@GW, which allow students to pursue their degree from anywhere in the world. For more information, visit http://publichealth.gwu.edu.
About the Prevention Institute
Prevention Institute is a nonprofit, national center dedicated to improving community health and well-being by building momentum for effective primary prevention. Primary prevention means taking action to build resilience and prevent problems before they occur. The Institute’s work is characterized by a strong commitment to community participation and promotion of equitable health outcomes among all social and economic groups. PI works in the areas of mental health, health equity, preventing violence, healthy food and physical activity environments, transforming health systems, and unintentional injury. For more information, visit www.preventioninstitute.org.
About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org