Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas

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The study aim was to assess elementary schools that participated in the BHC whole-of-school intervention and examine the policy changes that took place during the year-long intervention, as well as proposed changes made as part of a sustainability plan. Findings indicated that evidenced-based tools can spur awareness of the need for health-based school change among administration, which in turn can prompt the adoption of school-level adherence policies.

The intersection between school-based health policy and community-based youth programs is explored as an important part of comprehensive youth health promotion. Batterham, R. Health literacy: Applying current concepts to improve health services and reduce health inequalities. Public Health, , Bartholomew, J. Physically active academic lessons in elementary children. Preventive Medicine, 52 1 , SS Belansky, E. Early effects of the federally mandated local wellness policy on school nutrition environments appear modest in Colorado's rural, low-income elementary schools.

Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 11 , Besnilian, A. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 46 3 , Boles, M. Changes in local school policies and practices in Washington state after an unfunded physical activity and nutrition mandate. Preventing Chronic Disease, 8 6 , A Boyd, L.

Fortifying parent partnerships through the black church space. Collier Eds. Centeio, E. Physical activity change through comprehensive school physical activity programs in urban elementary schools. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 33, Relationship between academic achievement and healthy school transformations in urban elementary schools in the United States.

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Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 23 4 , Building healthy communities: A comprehensive school health program to prevent obesity in elementary schools. Preventive Medicine, , Cavanaugh, E. Changes in food and beverage environments after an urban corner store intervention. Preventive Medicine, 65, Make a difference at your school. School Health Index. Coombe, C.

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Strengthening community capacity in Detroit to influence policy change for health equity. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 23 2 , Creswell, J. Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Dietz, W. New strategies to prioritize nutrition, physical activity, and obesity interventions.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 51 5 , ee Donnelly, J. Classroom based physical activity, cognition, and academic achievement. Preventive Medicine, 52, SS Gamble, A. Journal of School Health, 87 1 , Grant, K. Home, school, and community collaboration: Culturally responsive family engagement. Jones, S. Social and emotional learning in schools: From programs to strategies. Society for Research in Child Development, 26 4 , Hearst, M.

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It takes a village: Promoting parent and family education on healthy lifestyles for Minnesota secondary students. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

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Educating the student body: Taking physical activity and physical education to school. Kelder, S. Implementation of Texas Senate Bill 19 to increase physical activity in elementary schools. Kubik, M. Two years later: Wellness councils and healthier vending in a cohort of middle and high schools.

Journal of Adolescent Health, 49, Langford, R. Obesity prevention and the health promoting schools framework: Essential components and barriers to success.

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Lewallen, T. The whole school, whole community, whole child, model: A new approach for improving educational attainment and healthy development for students. Journal of School Health, 85 11 , Lott, M. Equally important is the development of tools for communities to use in framing their own agendas. One vehicle for this, which is especially popular on the public health side of the equation, is community-based participatory research. This article seeks to provide a frame for better connecting community development, public health, and civic engagement. Because a frame is clearest when it is obvious what picture it encloses, here we provide examples of work at the intersection of these three arenas.

Environmental inequity is an important determinant of health disparities, and during the past decade many researchers have sought to go beyond documenting the problem to developing tools and relationships that can change conditions on the ground. The mapping was not just for the purpose of illustration.

The pilot campaign is intended to prevent further increases in cumulative environmental impacts in overburdened communities, mitigate existing environmental hazards, and revitalize overburdened areas through supporting businesses that use green technologies and provide jobs for local residents. Several features of this effort are striking. One is its combination of environmental health and economic development: Communities want cleaner air, but they also need the jobs that local firms provide. Another is the level of community coordination.

Community development was traditionally neighborhood based and inward looking, taking a sort of archipelago approach to economic sustainability.

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In contrast, this effort seeks to link disparate communities and secure a citywide policy that will benefit all of them. The jury is still out, but the possibilities are there for wedding community economic development and environmental health. The program seeks both to promote positive health outcomes in fourteen disadvantaged neighborhoods across the state and to complement the local work of community developers, service providers, and organizers with a statewide communications and policy strategy aimed at systems change.

The fourteen neighborhoods are a purposeful sample of low-income areas: They were chosen in part because they had community organizing capacity that could channel anger into aspiration. For example, leaders in the Sacramento Building Healthy Communities neighborhood effort have focused on promoting and extending community gardens and bike paths and on redeveloping brownfields.

This change is remarkable in a city known for its sprawl and its declining central core. And the South Los Angeles neighborhood used a health impact assessment to lobby for more funding for affordable housing in light of gentrification pressures. As with Clean Up, Green Up, the focus of Building Healthy Communities has been on systems change and collaboration between communities.

In Los Angeles, for example, youth in multiple Building Healthy Communities neighborhoods along with youth organized by other social movement groups led a campaign to end a practice of issuing expensive truancy tickets to students who arrived late to school—a policy that disproportionately affected Latino and African American youth because many of them relied on mass transit to get to school.

Efforts by other Building Healthy Communities neighborhoods in Long Beach, Oakland, and Fresno, combined with lobbying at the state level, produced five reforms to school discipline being signed into law. At first glance, school discipline policies might not seem to have much to do with either public health or community development. Community development and public health are also coming together to ensure that urban revitalization actually produces benefits for local residents. For example, transit-oriented development has been promoted as an ideal model for healthy, sustainable, and climate-friendly communities.

However, new housing near public transit centers can often price current residents out of their neighborhoods as housing becomes unaffordable to the people who rely most on public transit.

Environmental Justice in Your Community | Environmental Justice | US EPA

To address this issue, some community development corporations are using community engagement strategies to ensure that large-scale development directly benefits local residents instead of displacing them. For example, in response to expansion pressures from major medical and academic research facilities in various neighborhoods in Boston, Massachusetts, the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation and other community-based organizations formed partnerships with local hospitals, medical facilities, and research organizations to create community benefits programs, including workforce development.

Other efforts across the country seek to engage residents and build healthy neighborhoods by placing health and social services directly within affordable housing developments for low-income residents. Finally, the Reinvestment Fund, an organization that has traditionally focused on financing community development, is emphasizing health benefits through its Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, which seeks to bring supermarkets to so-called food deserts. What does this overview imply for future work at the intersection of community development and public health?

The first takeaway lesson is that both fields are increasingly guided by a view of community health. With this change, more work on community livability and health promotion becomes inevitable. A second takeaway lesson is that both community development and public health are increasingly focusing on systems change. Community developers have historically taken a deck of cards that has been stacked against low-income communities and sought to provide a bit more housing, a few more jobs, and some additional retail outlets. Public health advocates have accepted a physical environment in which recreation is scarce and pollution is high and have developed interventions that might allow children to eat a bit better and walk safely to school, or get there on buses that stop spewing diesel particulates into the air right outside the classroom.

Thus, it is encouraging that some planners and public health advocates are embracing broader goals of systems change, which includes a focus on fundamental causes, mediating mechanisms, and feedback loops that influence how different place-based strategies shape community health. This leads directly to our third takeaway lesson: Systems change requires nurturing community power and political engagement.

Indeed, the major initiatives that helped launch and sustain the field of community development, such as the War on Poverty and the Community Reinvestment Act of , generally came after major political struggles. What is needed now is political mobilization that can lead to new policies, such as improved links among transportation investments, local job development, and affordable housing.

Nurturing community power and political engagement will require stronger ties between professional staff who work in these arenas and organizers who are pushing for policy change. In a sense, this would be a return to the equity planning approach advocated by Paul Davidoff, 48 but with community participation infused in the earliest steps. Moving forward also requires developing the right tools and partnerships. One promising tool is health impact assessment, an interdisciplinary approach to assessing the consequences of proposed policies and projects that has been used to analyze the health impacts of wage policies, gentrification, and even mass deportation.

Another key challenge involves the expansion of the geographic range of community development and public health concerns for the disadvantaged. The traditional view is that distress is concentrated mostly in inner cities. There are encouraging signs that such communities of shared knowledge are developing at the intersection of community development, public health, and civic engagement. This is happening not a moment too soon: With federal inaction in the face of increasing inequality and growing fragmentation by race and place, interdisciplinary approaches to ensure that all places are strong platforms for economic mobility, full democratic participation, and community health are needed now more than ever.

Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas
Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas
Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas
Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas
Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas
Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas
Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas
Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas
Building Healthy Communities in Environmental Justice Areas

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