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Key Lessons from the Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Webinar: Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Policy

– Nemours Children’s Health and Healthy Eating Research at Duke University has developed Key Lessons from the Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Webinar: Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Policy. The synopsis shares high-level takeaways from the webinar on policy in the Healthy Kids, Healthy Future series.  

Read the brief to gain insights and recommendations on federal, state and local policies that have strong potential to move the needle on childhood food insecurity and obesity prevention and lead to more equitable health outcomes for children. 

Alphabet Soup: Breaking Down Housing and Community Development Terms

Shelterforce, a publication covering the worlds of community development, affordable housing, and neighborhood stabilization, has developed this glossary to help practitioners understand commonly used terms and abbreviations in the community development and housing sectors, and their definitions. Entries include:

  • FMR – fair market rent
    A measure set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), per region, and used to determine how much HUD will pay toward rent for Housing Choice Voucher holders.
  • PSH – permanent supportive housing
    Long-term housing that incorporates various ongoing supports, such as case management and health services, for those with additional needs.
  • TOD – transit-oriented development
    Development for which location, design, and density are meant to take advantage of, and encourage use of, transit, usually near a station or stop.

Browse the guide.

2022 Kids Count Data Book and 2022 State Trends in Child Well-Being

– The 2022 edition of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Book describes how children in America are in the midst of a mental health crisis, struggling with anxiety and depression at unprecedented levels.

This publication continues to present national and state data across four domains — economic well-being, education, health and family and community — and ranks states in overall child well-being. The report includes pre-pandemic figures as well as more recent statistics, and shares the latest information of its kind available.

View the 2022 Kids Count Data Book Interactive tool and download the Data Book here.

Click here to view the national data profile on child well-being or download a data profile by state.

View the 2022 U.S. Data Profile on child well-being in Spanish or download a data profile by state.

Necessary Conversations: Understanding Racism as a Barrier to Achieving Health Equity

– Structural racism refers to the persistence of inequity in communities of color while others benefit from a disproportionately larger share of the nation’s resources. There is indisputable evidence that the impacts of this inequity are generational. Structural racism has led to a lack of basic healthcare, education, housing, and other needs for too many in our nation.

Authentic conversations about racial inequities are essential, difficult, and urgent. There are many forces that prevent people from talking about racism. Without honest reflections on race and the history of this nation, conversation and narratives often generate unproductive fear, shame, guilt, avoidance, and denial. This book by Dr. Alonzo Plough, RWJF Chief Science Officer, shows us how we need to a place of healing and action.

The book, published by Oxford University Press, features a diverse set of voices, including Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of NAACP, Crystal Echo Hawk of IllumiNative, Gail Christopher, executive director, National Collaborative for Health Equity, among many other esteemed thinkers and doers.

Learn more and download the free e-book, Necessary Conversations here.
View the recording of the Necessary Conversations book talk webinar here.

2-1-1 Counts Data Tool for New Jersey

– This resource from the Health Communication Research Laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis, with support from Health Communication Impact, LLC, is the first tool to provide real-time, searchable and visual presentations of data from 2-1-1 call centers across the nation. 2-1-1 Counts provides a snapshot of community-specific needs displayed by ZIP code, region or call center as recently as yesterday, enabling users to easily check trends, make comparisons and share information. 2-1-1 Counts works with local 2-1-1 efforts to share this information with community leaders and service agencies.

Browse the New Jersey site.

Hunger and Its Solutions in New Jersey: Landscape Analysis of Current Initiatives, Recommended Action, and Emerging Opportunities for Further Investment

– The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only deepened inequities driven by community disinvestment and systems of oppression, which cut across geographic, racial, and ethnic lines. Reflecting the needs, priorities, and input of the community members most impacted by food insecurity, the Food Research & Action Center recently released Hunger and Its Solutions in New Jersey. This report highlights how diverse community organizations pivoted to diligently address hunger during the pandemic, providing food and connections to services and support; and state agencies fully maximized federal waivers, shifting services and expanding benefits to help mitigate food insecurity. Additionally, it outlines key recommendations that will enable state and local governments, schools, child care providers, community-based and faith-based organizations, emergency food providers, and others to help mitigate hunger. 

Read the report.

Delivering to Deserts: New Data Reveals the Geography of Digital Access to Food in the U.S.

– Digital food access could be a game-changer for people who struggle with brick-and-mortar food access barriers, including those living in disinvested areas historically defined as “food deserts” and individuals facing mobility challenges or time constraints. But at the same time, there are few neighborhood-level assessments of the digital food services footprint and whether those service maps align with the communities of greatest need.

This new brief from the Brookings Institution aims to address that gap. Using data on delivery zones from four of the most prominent digital food delivery companies and platforms—Amazon (Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods), Instacart, Uber Eats, and Walmart—its analysts assessed the geography of digital food access across the country. 

Read the brief.

Seen and Heard Podcast Series

– This new podcast from Institute for Family explores deeply personal stories from families who have experienced the U.S. foster care system and hosts conversations with leaders and experts at the forefront of the family well-being movement. With support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Seen and Heard podcast delves into real possibilities for shaping a future where families are seen, heard, engaged and have what they need to thrive.

Listen to episodes from Season 1.

Federal Nutrition Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic: SNAP

– Federal nutrition assistance programs have served as a first line of defense against food and nutrition insecurity for millions of families during the pandemic response. Since the onset of the pandemic, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants and administrators have faced new challenges and existing barriers, such as inequitable access to SNAP online purchasing, overburdened administrative staff and agency systems, and low digital literacy and technology deficits. In response, SNAP online purchasing increased rapidly by March 2021, and program flexibilities and waivers allowed states to adapt their standard operating procedures.

This issue brief from Healthy Eating Research presents key findings from three rapid-response studies that examined challenges and opportunities for SNAP due to these program changes. The studies also highlighted additional policy, program, and research efforts needed in the short term to improve states’ ability to administer SNAP and make services more accessible.

Read the issue brief.

Resources Recommended by NJHI Grantees and Partners

– From articles to toolkits and more, the statewide learning network of NJHI partners and project directors occasionally share resources they have found and how these tools can support the work to build healthier and more equitable communities. Browse this compilation and connect with each community and project director to exchange ideas. 

Explore past recommendations here.

Subscribe to NJHI’s bimonthly newsletter to stay up-to-date on future collections of recommendations.

  • This COVID Surge Feels Different – The NYT Daily podcast
    “The New York Times has a podcast called ‘The Daily’ and this episode is all about Omicron and hospitals. The episode does an amazing job of explaining the stress of the Omicron variant on the medical system. It is really great storytelling that makes it so clear why, even if you’re not sick with COVID but you go to get your hip replaced and you have COVID, they still have to isolate you and the stress on hospital staff caused by all the surgeries that are being postponed. It just does a really good job of showing the snowball effect and how all of us are connected. It might be useful in helping us think through how we can communicate with people who might not understand that they are part of the community and that we are all tied together.” – Lynne Algrant, Vice President of Planning, Development and Communications, Greater Bergen Community Action and Project Director, COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Outreach Ambassador Initiative
Hammonton youth at a community event hosted by the Hammonton Health Coalition.

Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block
“This book is a great guide to build inclusive communities where we could all have a livelihood, raise our children, care for our health, and embrace the vulnerable. According to Block, the first and most pressing challenge is to transform people’s sense of isolation and self-interest into an experience of connectedness and caring for the whole. Creating that transformation requires a shift from seeing problems that need to be solved in the community to seeing possibilities that can be lived into.” – Ivette Guillermo-McGahee, Founder and Executive Director of Allies In Caring, Inc., and Project Director, Connecting the Dots for Better Health: Data, Community and Opportunities

  • Webinar recording: Exploring Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Identity and Health Equity – County Health Rankings & Roadmaps
    “This national webinar hosted by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps addressed populations that are often excluded in conversations about health equity. A key point of the webinar is that the Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander categories used to collect much of the data in our country is a construct. There is so much diversity within the groups that have been lumped together in these broad categories, and this has masked some real health disparities in local communities. If community practitioners don’t see the differences by disaggregating the data, they could very well be unintentionally contributing to inequities in their communities. Another webinar key takeaway was that U.S. policies and practices have not only perpetuated harmful stereotypes about Asian Americans, but they have also intentionally pitted Asian American and Black communities against one another. I encourage anyone who is working on equity in the public or community health realm to watch the webinar recording.” – Joanne Lee, Healthy Places by Design Collaborative Learning Director

    Click here to check out Healthy Places by Design’s interview with Joanne Lee about this important topic.

Public Health Institute Vaccine Equity Strategy Series

– The Public Health Institute has produced a series of short videos and resources that feature actionable tips to boost vaccine equity efforts in every community. The series explores strategies such as providing free transportation for people with disabilities; providing onsite American Sign Language interpreters and ensuring easy access to interpreting app devices, and creating safe and affirming spaces for transgender, gender nonconforming and gender nonbinary people, and more.

Browse the series and additional resources.

Report: Understanding the Social Wellbeing Impacts of the Nation’s Libraries and Museums

– This new study from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), in partnership with Reinvestment Fund, examines the role of museums and libraries in promoting social wellbeing in communities across the United States. The multi-year, multi-market study found the presence and usage of public libraries and museums to be positively associated with multiple dimensions of social wellbeing—in particular, community health, school effectiveness, institutional connection and cultural opportunity. Highlights from the study include:

  • Libraries and museums are increasingly critical actors supporting social service provision in the communities they serve.
  • Libraries and museums are trusted institutions in their communities.
  • Libraries and museums can be catalysts in their communities to promote racial equity and inclusion. 

Read the full announcement and download the report.

This research is published in advance of the final community development tools and case studies and an evaluation that are part of the larger Community Catalyst Initiative. View updates about this initiative on the on the IMLS web site