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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

Listening, Learning and Leading Together: BUILD Health Challenge

– Racial equity is the critical social issue of our time, a potent lever to create conditions for ALL to be healthy and thrive. There is an urgent need to facilitate and amplify community-centered efforts to remove economic and social obstacles to health such as poverty and discrimination, and ensure that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthy.

The question on the minds of many is: how can we best support communities in their efforts to advance health equity given the realities exposed in 2020? To answer this question, the BUILD Health Challenge undertook a Listening Tour this year, co-designed with BUILD awardees and funders to better understand ways to address racial equity, center community members, and strengthen cross-sector partnerships to drive system changes.

BUILD’s new Listening Tour report highlights learnings from the field, testimonials from community leaders, and how BUILD is reimagining the future of community health.

Access the report here.

A Primer for Multi-Sector Health Partnerships in Rural Areas and Small Cities

– Developed by Build Healthy Places Network, this primer aims to assist multi-sector approaches that increase community-centered investments to support opportunities for all individuals to live the healthiest life possible regardless of their income, education, race or ethnic background. Through case studies, a partner finder, a resource library specifically for rural and small communities and more, this resource guides cross-sector collaborations between community development, finance, public health and healthcare to support partnerships in rural areas and small cities.

Browse the primer.

Do No Harm Guide: Applying Equity Awareness in Data Visualization

– This guide from the Urban Institute identifies approaches for data communicators to present data through a diverse, equitable, and inclusive lens. Demonstrating how language and visual choices can affect how people perceive results, how change might be implemented and how that change will impact communities, the guidelines include recommendations such as:

  • Using people-first language,
  • Ordering labels purposefully to avoid reinforcing historical biases, and
  • Carefully considering colors, icons, and shapes to avoid exacerbating existing stereotypes.

Download the guide.
In addition, the Urban Wire blog post “Three Ways Gatekeepers Can Further Racial Equity Awareness in Research” highlights the role of government agencies, funders, and editors as gatekeepers in the data communication ecosystem and offers insights on how they can help promote more diverse, equitable, and inclusive research. Urban Wire is the blog of the Urban Institute.

Resources Recommended by the Statewide Network of NJHI Grantees

– From articles to toolkits and more, current and former NJHI project directors recently shared resources they have found and how these tools are informing their current work to build healthier and more equitable communities. This compilation includes resources regarding food security, well-being and justice, trauma and adolescents, communicating with funders and the links between current health outcomes and historic redlining. Take a look and connect with each community and project director to exchange ideas. 

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

Paterson Youth CARES team
  • For Millions of Low-income Seniors, Coronavirus is a Food-security Issue – The Brookings Institution
    “This article discusses the major concern and impact of COVID-19 on low-income seniors. This year, the Paterson Youth CARES team focused our attention on food security for senior citizens in our community as they are statistically at a disadvantage.” – Kiersten Jones, Program Coordinator, New Jersey Community Development Corporation and Project Director, Youth CARES
  • The Springboard – Thriving Together
    “We’ve been using the Springboard to imagine how we help build ‘civic muscle’ within our organization, partners and the people we serve. I find this resource particularly meaningful in this moment as we reflect more on democracy and the role of community-based organizations in creating a more democratic, equitable society.” – Chris Kirk, Chief Program Officer, Norwescap and Project Director, Fondo de Oportunidades COVID-19 Emergency Response and COVID Vaccine Transportation Initiative
  • Redlining and Neighborhood Health – National Community Reinvestment Coalition
    “We became a member of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. However, membership isn’t required to access many of their reports, webinars and other resources. We have been looking at many of their resources, but this one exploring the links between current health outcomes and historic redlining is particularly interesting. It has inspired us to do similar research on Trenton.” Julia Taylor, Senior Director of Programs & Partnerships, Trenton Health Team and Project Director, Accelerating Action for a Healthy Trenton