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Rethinking Health Equity and the Right to Health

Written by Build Healthy Places Staff on December 12, 2016

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Our team is regularly on the road, hearing and learning about how community development and health are joining forces. In this occasional series, we report on what we are discovering to help you stay on top of the cutting-edge policies, tools, and projects in the fields.
Mia Kirk, Program Manager, caught us up on her recent trips for the annual American Public Health Association and Opportunity Finance Network conferences.

Read the full Dispatches series!


What meetings did you attend?

I was in Atlanta, GA for the annual Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) conference, this year with the theme “Rethink.” I also was in Denver for the annual American Public Health Association (APHA) meeting, this year called “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Ensuring the Right to Health.”


What was the Network’s role at OFN?

At OFN, we hosted a panel on Hospital Investment in Communities. We had a packed room with some fantastic speakers from across a number of sectors. Our panelists were:

  • Doreen Fadus, Mercy Medical Center
  • Quentin Moore, Population Health and Disparities Prevention, Trinity Health
  • Vincent Tufo, Charter Oak Communities
  • Susana Vasquez, IFF

As we know from our work, healthcare systems and providers are already investing millions of dollars in neighborhood revitalization – from affordable housing to grocery stores to workforce development.  These panelists discussed two successful CDFI partnerships with healthcare. Trinity’s $80 million multi-state Transforming Communities Initiative in which CDFIs and local hospitals are collaborating to improve neighborhoods.  The Vita Wellness District in Stamford is a local initiative in Stamford Connecticut, showing how a hospital has invested in community revitalization alongside a local housing authority and other community development organizations including CDFIs.


What was the Network’s role at APHA?


Standing room only!

The Network also hosted a panel at APHA, called “Investing in the Healthiest Nation: the Game Changing Potential of Community Development,” which was attended by over 250 people. Moderated by Doug Jutte, the panelists included:

  • Kevin Barnett, Public Health Institute
  • Emily Chen, LISC
  • Maggie Super Church, CLF Ventures
  • LaMar Hasbrouck, NACCHO
  • Robin Hacke, Kresge Foundation

Our networking reception at the Federal Reserve Bank, Denver Branch was a huge success! With a panel moderated by David Erickson of the San Francisco Federal Reserve, we had speakers from the healthcare sector, health foundations, and affordable housing. It was great food, drinks and networking on a Halloween night. No costumes though! Check out our Twitter Storify of our panels and reception! 


Chris Smith, Colorado Health Foundation


Which presentation should we be jealous we didn’t attend?

The Public Health Institute hosted an amazing panel called “Race Matters: Why Communities are Critical in Building Health and Equity.” It was amazing to hear how leaders from across sectors  are addressing structural and institutional racism in order to improve health. There were direct connections to the blog that Network directors, Colby Dailey and Doug Jutte, wrote about health equity and this panel session. 

My favorite quote from the panel came from Dalila Butler, who said “It’s not all doom and gloom – there are people in the communities who know the answers!” It’s inspiring to acknowledge that there are real solutions out there, and many communities already know them. Our role at the Network is to help bring awareness and shine light on the successes and challenges these communities face.