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What meeting did you attend?
I presented with the Build Healthy Places Network at the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO): Cultivating a Culture of Health Equity 2016 annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona. I presented on the following three sessions:
- Revitalizing Neighborhoods and Improving Health Equity: Community Development and Health Sector Collaboration
- Advancing Collaboration Between Community Development and Health: Why It Matters and What It Takes
- Community Development and Health in Action: Three Cross-Sector Partnerships and Initiatives
What’s the best question anyone asked you?
After one of our panels an attendee shared with me that they had no idea what the Community Development field can do. They came from a local health department and had a public health background so exposure to the community development field was relatively new. In particular, they were curious how debt can be leveraged to finance community health initiatives to address the social determinant of health like housing, food access, and jobs. The Network has a great blog post highlighting the different methods of funding that community development accesses.
Are there any buzzwords that came up that you’ve been thinking about?
Perhaps not buzz words, but the continuing conversation and differences between public health and population health. Each sector has their own jargon, which can be tricky to navigate when doing cross sector work. The Network has developed a Jargon Buster to help break down this barrier. A few other concepts that came up were “hotspotting” and inside/outside strategy. Another interesting idea I heard was talk of funders and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI’s) putting funds together to leverage investment to yield health results, such as co-locating housing, health care, and other services.
What were the key issues you found interesting at this meeting?
It was really interesting being on the other side of the table- sharing with public health officials why they should work with community development corporations (CDC). I am so immersed in my world and in Oakland and work with a dynamic county health department who understands the importance of the community development industry, it was nice to step back and really think of how best to connect and convey the importance of community development partners to catalyze results. I realized, I usually speak to audiences who generally get what I do, and it was great to pull back and think big picture about the work. Made me more invigorated and excited! Last, I was surprised by how attendees’ ideas of partnership outside of public health generally were constrained to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC’s) or hospital/health care systems rather than more broadly with other city or county agencies or community based organizations (CBO’s). So interesting, again, because the cross-sector work we do just feels like the norm in the Bay Area.
It was really interesting being on the other side of the table- sharing with public health officials why they should work with Community Development Corporations.
What can community development learn from public health?
I think in order for public health to have greater outcomes in their work and better support the overall health and well-being of residents, particularly children, deepening their relationships with community development corporation (CDC) partners and CBO’s is key. To this end, CDC’s can get to know their local health partners and come back to their roots of making long-lasting community change by bringing a social determinants of health frame to their work. This would help ensure long-term and holistic solutions to improve the outcomes we are seeking in communities.
How does this meeting reflect the movement of cross sector collaboration?
I think folks are starting to open their eyes more to this world of CDC’s and starting to get acquainted with a new player. And, with a limited number of resources and an increasing need for folks to further anchor into what they do and align with others, I can see the shifts in even the partners we have at the table- towards seeing how their different work can collectively advance the people, families, children, and neighborhoods they have the opportunity to serve.