Community members gather to learn hands-only CPR.
Whether on your daily commute or while visiting a new city, you may have noticed a distinct difference in the appearance of neighborhoods that border each other. And the difference is more than just appearance. If you live in a city, you likely have a neighbor living just a block or two away from you that may have a life expectancy that is ten years shorter than yours.1
In fact, there’s a reason zip codes are used to help predict health and lifespan.2 According to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report, “These place-based health differences reflect the characteristics of communities where people live, learn, work, and play. They are also strongly linked with differences in social factors like income, education, and race or ethnicity.”3 The simple fact is that where you live has a significant impact on your overall health.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
There is no one-size-fits-all formula to addressing a community’s health needs and putting a plan of action into place. What does it take to make sustainable improvements in public health? The answer is to start with the community.
- Take an active role in your community. Learn, build trust, volunteer, and vote. Check out the activities your neighborhood association offers and get involved. Find out who your block captain is and introduce yourself. Support nonprofits that provide services in your community.
- Acknowledge what you know, and what you don’t know. For example, did you know that one in five people experience food insecurity? And it just may be your neighbor who is in need. Advocate and speak up about issues such as hunger by supporting local food cupboards, soup kitchens, and nonprofit organizations like the Share Food Program and Good Samaritan Shelter’s Nourish Mobile Market.
When we work together with the community towards a common goal, we can be neighbors who take action to improve our communities today for a healthier tomorrow.
IBC Foundation’s Building Healthier Communities Program
Our Building Healthier Communities program supports projects that serve the diverse health and wellness needs in underserved populations in Southeastern Pennsylvania. In addition to grant funding, the IBC Foundation works with Coalition U, to offer capacity-building workshops to strengthen nonprofits.