– AACORN (African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network) recently launched the Environments Supporting Healthy Eating (ESHE) Index to measure a county’s access to healthier foods, and compare it to other areas at the county or state level. ESHE is a free, standardized scoring tool for describing food environments in terms of their support for healthy eating. ESHE is different from other indices, as it weights and ranks multiple variables including: community nutrition environment, organizational environments, food prices and information environment. The numerical results combine county and state indicators that are publicly available and can be updated to monitor change over time.
– The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) strives to bridge health gaps through language access. NIMHD provides health resources from across the National Institutes of Health in selected languages to help disseminate health information for areas where disparities have been identified, including Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes. The NIMHD will continue to add resources periodically. Currently, health information resources are available in Bengali, Hindi, Japanese, Tagalog, Spanish, Vietnamese and more.
– The CDC’s Built Environment Assessment Tool guides community program staff and evaluators in measuring the features and qualities of the built environment that can influence overall community health and individual health behaviors. The BE Tool assesses built environment infrastructure, walkability, bikeability, recreational sites, and food environment.
– The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute release the eighth annual County Health Rankings, which illustrates how where we live matters to our health. The annual County Health Rankings allow each state to see how its counties compare on more than 30 factors that impact health and that communities can act upon, including income, education, transportation, housing, community safety and jobs. New for 2017, are key findings regarding disconnected youth.
View the 2017 Rankings, browse evidence-based action guides for communities, and connect with a County Health Rankings and Roadmaps Community Coach here
– Community leaders and health advocates often get frustrated because they have insufficient or overly broad data. The 500 Cities project by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), CDC Foundation and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a powerful tool for public officials, city planners, nonprofits, advocates or anyone else who wants to better target their health improvement efforts. 500 Cities data provide an easy-to-use picture of unhealthy behaviors, health outcomes and use of preventive services at a level of detail not available before for the nation’s 500 largest cities, including nine New Jersey communities. Among the nine New Jersey cities are six NJHI-supported communities: Camden, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Newark, Paterson and Trenton.
These 500 cities represent a third of the total U.S. population. The interactive maps provide the ability to see where chronic conditions overlap, neighborhood by neighborhood. This allows communities to gain an additional perspective on how specific areas fare on measures such as smoking, obesity, mammogram and cholesterol screening rates and other factors that determine health.
– Together with the Anne E. Casey Foundation, this archived 2016 webinar from the Forum for Youth Investment discusses how the Youth Experience Survey can help communities can better address risk and protective factors for their youth. The self-reporting survey, administered to students in middle school and high school, features questions intended to identify effective evidence-based approaches for prevention and early intervention. Results offer insight into education and skills attainment, emotional well-being, physical health, positive behavior, and positive relationships.
Click here to watch the webinar and learn more about the Youth Experience Survey.
– In early 2017, United Way of Northern New Jersey released its updated ALICE Project Report for New Jersey. The United Way ALICE Project is a collaborative effort to improve the lives of vulnerable, Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed households. ALICE, a United Way acronym, is a way of defining and understanding our families, neighbors, and colleagues (men and women) who work hard, earn above the federal poverty level, but not enough to afford a basic household budget of housing, child care, food, transportation, and health care.
ALICE educates our children, keeps us healthy, and makes our quality of life possible. But these low-wage jobs, often in the service sector, do not pay enough for ALICE to live on. Based on the success of the research in identifying and communicating the needs of ALICE households, the Project has grown from a pilot in Morris County, New Jersey in 2007, to a national level in 2014. Reports are now available for 15 states. By sharing common language and understanding, stakeholders are better equipped to tackle crucial issues for ALICE and the wider community.
– Health equity means we all have the basics to be as healthy as possible. However, across the nation, many communities have experienced generations of isolation from opportunity.
Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity is the result of a year-long analysis by a 19-member committee of national experts in public health, health care, civil rights, social science, education, research and business. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) commissioned the report as part of a $10 million, five-year grant to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to examine solutions to promote health equity, a key element in a Culture of Health.
– The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently released a new publication titled Winning With Wellness, which outlines strategies that businesses can use to employ effective wellness programs in the workplace. The report, created in collaboration with leaders in the health care and academic communities, includes a road map for designing successful and effective workplace wellness programs and discusses the legal and regulatory parameters associated with these programs.
– Active Living By Design Releases New Model for Healthy Community Change
Active Living By Design (ALBD) just released a fresh model for community-driven change to reflect the evolution of the healthy community field’s growth. ALBD works to create healthier places through community-led change with a focus on the policies, systems and environments that shape our daily lives.
An easy-to-navigate graphic displays the model’s framework and how the elements are connected. This new model highlights the importance of a community’s context, defines six essential practices that undergird success and outlines a three-part action approach. It also describes expected impacts. This updated model was created to support community coalitions and local leaders seeking a collaborative approach to creating healthier places, as well as to funders seeking a tested approach for local investments.
ALBD’s original Community Action Model (CAM) was developed years ago as an evidence-informed framework for increasing active living and healthy eating in communities through comprehensive and integrated strategies. It served as a guide for communities and philanthropic organizations as they implemented bold new approaches to create healthier policies and environments.
These approaches advanced the collective understanding of the complex nature of healthy community change while leaders at all levels (in communities and in philanthropic organizations) contributed their experiences to deepen the learning. In time, the healthy community change field grew into exciting new territory, and the initial CAM no longer adequately addressed many of the nuances being drawn out by practice. Nor did it lift up the most important elements for sustaining these efforts.
In 2015, ALBD began enriching the CAM to address those gaps based on more than a dozen years of successful initiatives across the country. The updated Community Action Model is now relevant for a variety of community health goals. The ALBD staff reflected on what they had learned from community leaders and funders and then dissected every component of the original model. They developed iterative drafts and checked their assumptions with community leaders and advisors along the way. They then engaged in conversation with ALBD alumni (community leaders with whom they had long-standing relationships), gathered stories about the communities’ work and connected those to themes in the updated Model. Throughout 2016, the organization will continue to develop content that will allow community leaders and funders to dive deeper into the model’s components.
– With funding from New Jersey Health Initiatives, the Coalition for Community Schools at the Institute for Educational Leadership has released a white paper discussing the state of community schools in New Jersey. This report presents the overall community schools movement across the country, provides a scan of the community school landscape in New Jersey, and discusses the capacity for community schools expansion in the state.
– The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program released its State Health Gaps Reports, exploring how wide gaps are throughout each state and what is driving those differences. These reports can help state, local and community leaders and residents understand:
What health gaps are and why they matter
The size and nature of the health gaps among counties
What factors are influencing the health of residents, and
What state and local communities can do to address local health gaps.
Click here for background about the State Health Gaps.
Download the New Jersey State Health Gaps Report here.