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In Focus

What Does It Take to Build a Healthy Community?

By January 5, 2018January 11th, 2018Community Health

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.

1https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/04/29/health/life-expectancy-nyc-chi-atl-richmond.html
2https://www.rwjf.org/en/library/interactives/whereyouliveaffectshowlongyoulive.html
3https://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/reports/2013/rwjf406474

 

Claire Trindle

Claire Trindle joined Independence Blue Cross Foundation in 2016. In her current role as a program specialist, Claire oversees the grant administration of the Building Healthier Communities grant program. Her prior professional experience includes substance abuse prevention, community health education, and clinical health research. Claire has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health from Temple University.

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