August 2016
Relevant Webinars
The community development sector is a multi-billion-dollar sector that serves as an action arm for addressing social determinants of health through the development and financing of affordable housing, grocery stores, health clinics, and services in low- and moderate-income communities. This webinar by the Build Healthy Places Network focuses on the sector's alignment with the health equity goals of public health, shared measurement strategies, and emerging opportunities for cross-sector collaboration. The full recording can be found here.

Did you miss a previous Every Woman Southeast webinar? All of our archived webinars can be found on our website here.
Where You Live Affects Your Health 

Living in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods is Bad for Your Health
Living in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods is Bad for Your Health

Why is your street address such a good predictor of your health? This clip from Episode 5 of the documentary series "UNNATURAL CAUSES: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?" briefly discusses how the social, economic, and physical environments in which we are born, live, and work profoundly affect our longevity and health. 
Click here to view an infographic that depicts visually the who, what, where, and how of improving community and neighborhood health. 

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Choice Neighborhoods Initiative supports locally driven strategies to address struggling neighborhoods with a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. Local leaders, residents, and stakeholders come together to create and implement a plan that transforms distressed HUD housing and addresses the challenges in the surrounding neighborhood. The program is ultimately designed to catalyze critical improvements in neighborhood assets. 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes that healthy places are those that are designed and built to improve the quality of life for all people who live, work, worship, learn, and play within their borders -- where every person is free to make choices amid a variety of healthy, available, accessible, and affordable options. The Division of Community Health's Built Environment Tool Kit explains the importance of understanding and measuring the built environment and provides a tool for doing so.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's issue brief, Neighborhoods and Health, examines the evidence linking neighborhoods and health, opportunities for Americans to live in healthy neighborhoods, and promising programs and interventions to make neighborhoods healthier places to live, learn, and play. 

RAND's mission is both simple and incredibly complex: they exist to help policymakers make decisions that are based on the best available information. On their website they provide a multitude of publications on the topic of Neighborhood Influences on Health. At RAND, their research results are fueled by the best available data, the strongest methods, and the brightest minds.
Social Determinants of Health:
We know by now that the neighborhood we live in influences our health, education, work, and many other factors. In fact, it's been said that our zip code may be more important for our health than our genetic code. How is that possible, you ask? Research suggests that neighborhood factors such as environmental hazards, the availability of services, and social cohesion and control can all have a significant impact on personal outcomes. 

Neighborhood Conditions & Health
A large body of literature has linked different kinds of neighborhood conditions with health. The physical conditions, available services, and social environments of neighborhoods have been repeatedly and strongly linked to general health status, disability, mortality, birth outcomes, and chronic conditions, as well as health behaviors, mental health, injuries, violence, and other important health indicators. Notably, however, healthy and unhealthy neighborhood conditions are not distributed randomly. Extensive research shows that low-income and minority neighborhoods are more likely to experience harmful conditions and to lack health-promoting conditions.

How does living in an impoverished neighborhood affect individual and community health?
Poverty in the U.S. has become more concentrated in the last decade, leading to more high-poverty and disadvantaged neighborhoods. Because of historically entrenched and persistent racial residential segregation, Blacks and Latinos are more likely than Whites to live in neighborhoods with concentrated poverty, even when their individual household incomes are similar to those of Whites.  Poorer neighborhoods generally have more crime, pollution, fast-food outlets, and ads promoting tobacco and alcohol use, and often lack safe places to play and exercise. Residents of high-poverty neighborhoods are more likely to live in substandard housing that can expose children to multiple health hazards including lead poisoning and asthma. Perhaps less obvious but equally important is the fact that children living in poor neighborhoods are more likely to attend underperforming schools and have fewer job opportunities, which can limit social mobility -- and therefore health -- across generations.

Call to Action
As mentioned, adverse neighborhood conditions, as well as the other social determinants of health, are not equally distributed. Rather, residents of low-income and minority neighborhoods are much more likely to experience the harmful conditions that influence health. This disparate impact is one reason why community development and health must work closely together on these issues. The work of the community development sector, by its nature, is focused on the very low-income neighborhoods experiencing the greatest health risks. Increased partnerships between community development, public health, and the medical field to document disparities, identify the most efficacious investments, design evidence-based interventions, and track their effectiveness are critical if we are to reduce disparities in health and economic opportunity, enabling everyone to reach their full potential, and making all neighborhoods healthy places to live and thrive.
Neighborhood & Health Resources

For many years, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and its members have been active players in discussions and projects that make the link between human health and the built environment; they know that health is a core component of thriving communities. Through their Building Healthy Places Initiative, ULI is leveraging the power of its global networks to shape projects and places in ways that improve the health of people and the communities they live in.

The Prevention Institute is determined to achieve health and safety for all, to improve community environments equitably, and to serve as a focal point for primary prevention practice. Their report, Built Environment and Health: 11 Profiles of Neighborhood Transformation, highlights neighborhood-level changes to the built environment that can have a positive influence on the health of community residents, and demonstrates how health practitioners, community members, and many others can work together to improve community well-being by making changes to the built environment. 
New Blog Post!

In this blog, The Other Side of Gentrification: Health Effects of Displacement, writers from the Making Cities Livable movement discuss how rapid neighborhood change affects people's health and widens disparities. This piece also offers suggestions for enhancing the well-being of neighborhood inhabitants, strengthening community, improving social and physical health, and increasing civic engagement.

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