From Our Blog

New podcast episode from the Federal Reserve highlights connection between health and economic opportunity

Hear about an organization that helps residents build healthy, vibrant and safe neighborhoods in the latest episode of Access.

Did you know that each of the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks has a community development function? The Community Development departments of the Federal Reserve System conduct outreach and research on issues facing low- and moderate-income households. Like many organizations across the country over the last few years, they understand the importance of looking at community and economic development through a health lens.

Health  is a bigger concept than medical care,” according to David Erickson, community development officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. “It’s the sum record of your challenges and your opportunities. And so, if you’re in the opportunity business, you’re also in the health business.” Erickson discussed this topic in the most recent episode of the Fed’s community development podcast, Access.

“Health is a bigger concept than medical care,” according to David Erickson, community development officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. “It’s the sum record of your challenges and your opportunities. And so, if you’re in the opportunity business, you’re also in the health business.”

Launched in Dec. 2016, this new podcast addresses social issues like economic mobility, affordable housing, small business development and neighborhood revitalization. Each episode gives voice to community members and organizations across the U.S. about successful programs that help provide access to opportunity for low- and moderate-income individuals and families.

This latest episode of Access explores the intersection of community development and health, with interviews from Erickson and Ray Kidd, a community activist who is a resident of Oakland, California. Through involvement in a local neighborhood group, he is committed to improving his own and nearby communities.

Kidd is also involved with the East Bay Asian Local Development Organization (EBALDC), a nonprofit that engages neighbors to make their communities more healthy and resilient. The Build Healthy Places Network previously featured EBALDC when they began their healthy neighborhoods initiative in the San Pablo Avenue Corridor, one of the most disadvantaged areas of Oakland. Today, the San Pablo Avenue Revitalization Collaboration (SPARC) and its 14 partner organizations, led by EBALDC, have made much progress in that area.

In the podcast episode, Romi Hall, associate director of neighborhood collaboration at EBALDC, discussed work SPARC has accomplished or is beginning to do in San Pablo in the four focus areas of health, housing, economy and community, including:

  • Heart health clinics
  • New affordable housing production and preservation of existing developments
  • Supporting residents to access well-paying jobs
  • Supporting entrepreneurs and microenterprises
    • Neighborhood marketplace for testing and selling products
    • Technical assistance
  • Attracting anchor retail businesses, including the community’s first full-service grocery store
  • Creative place-making projects such as murals, gardening and median clean-ups
  • Community engagement and leadership development

According to Kidd, “The whole general blighted nature of San Pablo seemed…to be too big. It was too big for us. Bringing the different constituencies and stakeholders to the table can make things happen that wouldn’t happen any other way. SPARC has brought some hope.”

To hear the whole story, listen to episode 4 of Access.

New to podcasts? Podcasts are episodic digital audio programs, like shows you hear on public radio stations. They are a great way to access information or learn new things on the go, and many listeners download them for their commutes, workouts or downtime. You can subscribe to podcasts through apps on your mobile device (Access is available on iTunesStitcher and TuneIn) or listen through a browser (accesspodcast.org). For more information on Access, contact host and producer Molly Hubbert Doyle.

About the Author

Molly Hubbert Doyle

Hubbert Doyle joined the Community Development Department of the Dallas Fed in 2013. In her role, she contributes to the Federal Reserve’s economic growth objectives by organizing events, convening partnerships and producing web and multimedia content on issues faced by low- and moderate-income communities. This involves work in the areas of financial access, economic development and neighborhood revitalization. Additionally, she is host and producer of the new Federal Reserve System initiative, Access: A Community Development Podcast from the Federal Reserve.

Hubbert Doyle previously worked in the nonprofit sector. She was a program planner at BakerRipley (formerly Neighborhood Centers Inc.) and an AmeriCorps member at the Cooperative for After-School Enrichment in Houston, Texas. She holds a BA in sociology from the University of Tulsa and a master’s in social work (macro practice) from the University of Houston.