We facilitated several community partnership development meetings and health and wellness workshops in each of the four target cities. In preparation for the community workshops, we held community partnership development meetings to listen to local stakeholders identify their most pressing social determinants. Local health influencers, advocates and community stakeholders attended these meetings. These preparatory meetings enabled a collaborative planning process by which community stakeholders helped project team members with the development of an agenda and discussion materials for the workshop.
At the health and wellness workshops, we presented our findings (including identifying each city's highest health risks), conducted trainings on how to use the data dashboard and storymap visualizations tools and facilitated discussion around the systemic causes and evidence-based policy interventions for areas of concern. Attendees from the community partnership development meetings participated on the panels at the workshops in each city. At the end of the workshops, each participant stated their intent to use the data, addressed the social determinants of health they face in their work and collaborated with other workshop participants to identify solutions.
All the participating cities had some level of collaboration amongst health care providers, health promotion and public health organizations, social and community services and community planning and development entities. Many of the participants knew each other prior to the workshop, but collaboration had been relatively informal, reactive, or occasionally an intentional one-off joint initiative. Nonetheless, many new intersectoral connections were made at the workshops.
One common type of connection included community development and social service organizations learning about health system community health needs assessments (CHNAs) and identifying common goals. Another frequent connection was between agencies that served or housed a particular population, by where participants learned about other organizations that were interested in providing health services that had previously been lacking. A third type of common connection was between community and academic partners, identifying opportunities to research issues, review evidence-based policy and programs and use student program practice requirements to advance community health objectives. Overall, there was interest in more systemic partnerships, potentially coordinated through the needs assessment and strategic planning activities conducted by health departments, city planning and development departments and the CHNA process.
Obesity, chronic disease, asthma, mental health, child development are common health concerns across all cities. Poverty, employment and benefits, education, housing and homelessness, and transportation are also common social and economic concerns across all cities. There is widespread concern about structural or persistent disparities. For instance, where do you begin helping families with few resources and a lot of health needs? Also, the awareness of persistent disparities contribute to the stigmas which prevents solutions.
A recurring question was whether these issues could be solved in a generation. Other questions include can big changes be made now that will help today’s kids become healthy adults and what does it mean for the future if there are major gaps in quality child care, parents with mental illness, and kids who aren’t getting adequate health care or developmental support.
A community partnership development meeting was held in Albany in January 2019, followed by the health and wellness workshop in February.
Albany faces severe health burdens and inequities and is working with limited resources to address them. The major local hospital is particularly concerned with chronic disease and ER utilization.
Some of their main social determinants of health (SDOH) concerns are about car-less and single parent households. They want to find out what high disease rates and health disparities are costing the city.
They currently use the Healthy Communities Institute dashboard and a case heat map to prioritize issues. The 500 Cities data will enhance this effort. They are working on community development and health collaboration initiatives.
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Between June 2018 and January 2019, we connected with the community at outdoor festivals, community health events and neighborhood meetings. We introduced the project, talked directly with and listened to numerous stakeholders, and invited them to the workshop. We then held the Atlanta health and wellness workshop in February 2019.
The majority of attendees had attended prior Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement (ARCHI) events where they had learned about health inequities and SDOH, given many of them an awareness Atlanta’s institutional health and social inequities spatial patterns.
The workshop introduced attendees to the data and them time for exploration of the visualization tools. This was followed by a conversation around community-driven research and interventions to encourage participants to explore the 500 Cities data with the communities they served. Participants were very interested in linking the 500 Cities data to other data sources they used in their community development and health services work.
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A community partnership development meeting was held in Columbus in November 2018, followed by the full workshop in January 2019. We returned to Columbus, twice in February, to conduct a presentation for the city’s Department Directors and the City Manager and a led a lunch and learn meeting with community residents.
Participants in the workshop discussed how to integrate the 500 Cities data with other data they use, such as Kids Count, GEEARS child development indicators, birth outcomes, transportation and clinics. Some of their main concerns were how interventions should vary by SDOH risk factors. They were also concerned whether the local community development organizations and agencies are addressing the highest health risks as identified by the 500 Cities data. If not, then what are ways to better coordinate the agencies.
The local university, Columbus State University, shared information about their nursing program generating new providers each year and their health sciences program has 70 practicum placements each year who could put be placed with these community partners.
The workshop participants outlined their priorities as: get policy makers more aware and empathetic towards SDOH, develop a broader approach to transportation alternatives that are sustainable and equitable, build more partnerships by connecting with non-traditional sectors and secure more funding for health care research.
During the community partnership development meeting, the city’s major hospital shared that they were currently conducting their CHNA process and were interested in using the 500 Cities data for the assessment. Their priorities are diabetes and cancer and they were enthused about the ability to view the spatial patterns using the visualization tools.
At the presentation for the city of Columbus’ directors, the staff and City manager found that the 500 Cities data and our SDOH approach could be of value to the city’s economic development and wellness initiatives. The health issues we highlighted as high prevalence were the same ones the majority of employees on the city insurance program are receiving treatment for and they see these as community wide issues.
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A community partnership development meeting was held in Savannah in October 2018, followed by the full workshop in November.
Participants were particularly concerned about homelessness and low-quality child care. Knowing that education is an important predictor of future health status, they were concerned that lack of quality early child development supports might forecast issues with adult unemployment, poverty, and poor health outcomes.
The Healthy Savannah group and the Coastal Georgia Indicators Coalition are bringing significant coalitions together to address community health determinants. They are also participating in the Invest Health national initiative.
Participants were excited about their future opportunities through intersectoral collaboration and for bringing a health equity focus into their work.
Download the Savannah PowerPoint!
We conducted an all-day retreat with selected representatives from each of the four target cities. The retreat focused on receiving feedback on the benefits and advantages of using the 500 Cities data to address critical needs and service gaps in rural and/or underrepresented communities and recommendations for future projects using the 500 Cities data.
We believe the feedback from the retreat attendees offers better insight to how the 500 Cities data and our visualization tools help with their current work and future endeavors with improving health outcomes.
Question 1: What are the benefits and advantages of using the 500 Cities data to address critical needs and service gaps in rural and/or underrepresented communities?
Question 2: What are recommendations for future projects or initiatives that may incorporate the 500 Cities data with a similar approach?
Multiple representatives, from over 145 organizations, participated in the community partnership development meetings and health and wellness workshops. Participants represented local neighborhoods, nonprofit and community health advocacy organizations, local, State, and Federal government agencies, healthcare, housing, religious, mental health and environmental groups, universities and colleges, and small and large businesses.
32nd Street Media
AAPHC Rural Model Clinic
Albany Area Primary Health Care Rural Clinic
Albany Housing Authority
Albany State University
Aspire Georgia Recovery Project
Atlanta Humane Society
Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP)
Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement
Atlanta Regional Commission
Atlanta Relay Bike Share
Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation
Beyond the Bell
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Carter Center, Emory Fuqua Center for Late Life Depression
Center for Victims of Torture
Chatham County Dept. of Public Health
Chatham County Public Health Department
Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council
Chatham County Strategic Planning office
Chatham Family Connection Collaborative
CHRIS 180 (CHRIS Kids, Inc.)
City of Albany
City of Albany Recreation & Parks
City of Atlanta
City of Savannah
Clinical Research Pathways
Coastal Georgia Indicators Coalition
Columbus Consolidated Government
Columbus Consolidated Government - Planning Department
Columbus Family Connection
Columbus State University
Columbus State University - Turner College of Business
Community Development Banking
Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
Community Housing Capital
DCSS/ESP Parent Mentor
DeKalb County Commission, District 2
Department of Public Health - Columbus Health Department
Dougherty County School System
Emory School of Medicine
Emory University Hospital - Midtown
Enterprise Community Partners
Family Literacy Connection
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Fulton County | Health & Wellness
GA Alliance for Health Literacy
Garden City United Methodist Church
Geogia Southern University - Dept of MHA
Georgia Center for Nonprofits
Georgia Department of Community Affairs
Georgia Family Connection Partnership
Georgia Global Health Alliance
Georgia Health Information Management Association
Georgia Health Policy Center
Georgia Public Health
Georgia Recovery Project
Georgia Southern University – Armstrong
Georgia Southern University - Statesboro
Georgia State University
Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency
Georgians for a Healthy Future
Girls Inc. of Columbus and Phenix-Russell
Global Health Action
Grady Medical Hospital
Healing Community Center
Health Restoration 101
Historic Westside Gardens ATL, Inc.
Horizons Community Solutions
House of TIME
Housing Authority od Dekalb County
Kaiser Permanente of Georgia
Mental Health America of Georgia
MercyMed of Columbus
Morehouse School of Medicine
Odyssey Family Counseling Center
Partnership of Southern Equity
Peach State Health Plan
Phoebe Putney Health Systems- Network of Trust School
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital
Piedmont Columbus Regional
Quest For Change, Inc.
Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation
River Valley Area Agency on Aging
Ruby A. Neeson Diabetes Awareness Foundation, Inc.
S & S Private Health Care
SA Public Health Solutions, LLC
Sadie G Mayes Health & Rehabilitation Center
Savannah State University
Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools
SJCHS - St. Mary's Health Center
Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance
Southwest Georgia Public Health
St. Francis Hospital
St. Joseph's Health System/ Mercy Care
St. Mary's Hospital
State of Georgia Dept. of Community Support
State of Georgia Dept. of Public Health
The Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority
The Hughston Foundation
United Way of Coastal Empire
United Way of Columbus
United Way of Greater Atlanta
United Way of Southwest Georgia
United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley
Univ. of Georgia-Chatham County Extension
Univ. of Georgia-Dougherty County Extension
Urban Health Initiative - Emory University
Valley Healthcare System, Inc.
Wellcare Health Plans, Inc.
WellStar Atlanta Medical Center South
West Central Health District-Georgia Dept. of Public Health
This research is based upon work supported by the Urban Institute through funds provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. We thank them for their support but acknowledge that the findings and conclusions presented in this report are those of the author(s) alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Urban Institute or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.