Prevention Institute 2023 Accomplishments

Throughout the year, community-centered practice continued to be at the heart of everything we did, shaping our work across a set of interrelated strategies. This is because we understand that communities that have been most impacted by structural injustices and poor health outcomes are closest to the solutions that will make a difference. As such, our work in community-centered practice informed how we strengthened practitioner knowledge and skills, transformed systems and policies, and built momentum to shift fields and narratives.

In 2023, we remained true to advancing equitable, upstream prevention at a community level. All of our work continued to reinforce our mission: To build prevention and health equity into key federal, state, local, and organizational policies, practices and actions to ensure that the places where all people live, work, play and learn foster health, safety, and wellbeing.

We also continued to advance work in land use and the built environment (park/green space equity and transportation), safety (violence prevention), and wellbeing (mental and behavioral health and trauma prevention)–all essential community health issues and areas in which our staff have deep knowledge and capacity to partner with communities to achieve solutions. We also focused on bridging health equity and racial justice as a key lens through which we approached our work.

In 2023, we welcomed the opportunity for more in-person engagement, both among staff and with communities and our partners. This engagement allowed us to go deeper in a number of ways, and we hope you will see that depth reflected in these accomplishments.

What you won’t see explicitly in our 2023 accomplishments is our continued emphasis on upgrading our operations and finance systems in support of the whole organization. As a result of our investment in operations, we celebrated a clean audit, upgraded our accounting software, transitioned to a hybrid work schedule in all our locations, and leveled up as an organization by releasing an updated compensation framework which included salary and benefit increases across the organization.

Our approach to ensuring that all people experience their full potential for health, safety, and wellbeing across the life course through thriving, equitable communities is rooted in community learning and partnership with organizations, collaboratives, and networks. We continued this trend in 2023 as you will see in our accomplishments that span four strategies:

  1. Community-Centered Practice: Partnering with communities in support of community-driven change
  2. Knowledge and Skill Building: Strengthening practitioner capacity to advance equitable health, safety, and wellbeing
  3. Systems and Policy Transformation: Changing systems and policies to produce equitable health, safety, and wellbeing
  4. Momentum Building: Strengthening a prevention and health equity ecosystem while shifting fields, norms, and narratives

We never do this work alone. And we are grateful to our many partners: communities and community members, practitioners, government agencies and systems leaders, foundations, public health organizations, and many other organizations advancing equitable health outcomes. These accomplishments would not be possible without our shared values, learning, and partnership.

Community-Centered Practice: Partnering with communities in support of community-driven change.

Facilitated a national learning community of partners advancing park equity.

PI continued to work with 14 power building and BIPOC-led community collaboratives in the continental United States and Puerto Rico through the People, Parks, and Power (P3) initiative. We hosted the first P3 convening in Prevention Institute’s Oakland office, bringing together the organizations who are leading the work of park and green space equity advocacy across the nation. We also conducted site visits to each community to provide in-person support and facilitate deeper learning. To uplift their stories and strategies, we held virtual peer learning spaces dedicated to showcasing grantees’ collective expertise and leadership in community organizing, power-building, and policy development and advocacy.

Throughout the year, P3 strengthened voices and leadership among individuals most impacted by park and green space inequities and applied power-building strategies to policy and systems change solutions. Local partners have been able to undertake intentional organizational growth to shift from reactionary advocacy to a proactive approach, where community members hold the pen on policy development. Promising policies are emerging, including those that seek to codify administrative policies that support Indigenous cultural practices and land sovereignty; expand public financing for green infrastructure to counteract extreme heat and flooding; and make farmland more accessible to farmworkers seeking a path to ownership, among others. These strategies reflect how community voice and leadership can drive upstream changes to improve health.

Funders: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Image by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Supported community-led collaboratives promoting mental health and wellbeing.

As the Communities of Care (CoC) initiative entered its fifth year, we worked with ten collaboratives in the greater Houston area as they mobilized resident leaders and youth to address upstream community factors impacting their mental wellbeing. PI supported collaboratives through tailored technical assistance and coaching, monthly webinars and training, and facilitated peer learning activities. We also supported collaboratives in sharing their impact with national audiences and funders. In November, representatives from Babies in Baytown and The Future is Us joined PI and the Hogg Foundation at the National Federation of Families Conference, where they discussed their successes, their approach to building resident and youth leadership, and how they have engaged youth and family leaders to advance advocacy in their communities.

CoC partners, including residents, convened in April for the first in-person partners’ meeting and training since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The collaboratives connected at the historic Buffalo Soldiers National Museum to reflect on the initiative’s accomplishments to date and share best practices for resident and youth leadership development. Following the convening, collaboratives continued to expand training opportunities for youth and residents to engage in advocacy before school district boards, city council, and state legislators. They have also established and deepened relationships with community partners and increased their visibility at local events, setting a foundation for a stronger community-driven push to improve wellbeing in their communities.

Funder: Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.

Image by Healthy Outdoor Communities.

Centered community power and healing to prevent domestic violence and advance health equity in communities.

PI continued to facilitate Safety Through Connection (STC), which accelerated community-driven systems change for health equity, the promotion of safe relationships, and prevention of domestic violence (DV) in five California communities. Since the project’s inception in 2019, three of the initial collaboratives have nurtured a robust ecosystem and helped recruit, onboard, and mentor two new collaboratives. The new collaboratives engaged in a year of collective inquiry to build shared understanding of the root causes of DV and the solutions to support safe relationships and advance health equity.

STC collaboratives built community power by establishing community advisory infrastructure, making resources accessible, and securing an 18-month state guaranteed income pilot for pregnant women. They also shifted cultural norms, policies, systems, and budgets through mobilizing community members to advocate for equitable housing, COVID-19 funds, school programs, and holding elected officials accountable. Partnering with PI, these collaboratives grew into a network focused on collective action, participating in ENACT Day—a legislative advocacy day—to advocate for economic security and wellbeing of undocumented immigrant women. Additionally, they convened in person with three other collaboratives from the Leveraging Collaboration to End Domestic Violence project, focusing on local policy, conflict transformation, decolonial solidarity, and cultural revitalization and healing.

Funder: Blue Shield of California Foundation.

Image by Jennifer Ly.

Launched an initiative focused on sustaining BIPOC leaders at the intersection of social justice and systems change.

AESOP's (Activists Engaged in Sustaining our Power and Purpose) Network provides an opportunity for social justice leaders to connect with peers and access resources to help them sustain their work amidst the challenges of structural discrimination, racism, and feelings of burnout.

In the initial phase of this network, we recruited 25 Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) leaders from across Texas to participate in a four-year co-creation process alongside a team of subject matter experts and partners. We conducted focus groups, interviews with participants, and a literature scan to deepen our understanding of contributors to stress and burnout for BIPOC social justice leaders and the ways in which leaders need to be supported in their communities and organizations. A sequence of large group meetings provided space for collective visioning, self-expression, and reflective discussion, while an in-person luncheon facilitated connection among participants. Small group healing circles also helped participants generate self-care practices to incorporate into their daily routines.

Funder: Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.

Image by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.

Knowledge and Skill Building: Strengthening practitioner capacity to advance equitable health, safety, and wellbeing.

Accelerated implementation of equity approaches in a public health ecosystem.

We laid the groundwork for continuous equity improvements through system-wide training and coaching activities with the goal of increasing understanding of how to operationalize health equity practices among Houston’s large public health workforce and key partners. The in-person Embedding Equity training series offered interactive content, discussion, and independent study resources for over 1,000 Houston Health Department (HHD) staff and community partners.

Our efforts aimed to increase understanding and application of health equity and racial justice through nine core elements to embed intentional equity practices into and across the Department’s many functions and programs. In response to training participant requests, we debuted our Deeper Dive Series—virtual webinars that highlighted and contextualized topics like environmental justice, the social justice roots of public health, and data equity practices.

This capacity building effort catalyzed thinking beyond a single agency lens and approach to a public health ecosystems approach. As a result of the trainings, HHD staff have been able to identify opportunities for improvement such as enhancing community engagement in environmental justice-related programs out of the HHD Bureau of Community and Children’s Environmental Health program, as well as internal pilots and tool development that has durable usefulness for HHD and other public agencies.

We presented this Embedding Equity model at the American Public Health Association’s 2023 annual meeting in Atlanta.

Funders: Houston Health Department and Houston Health Foundation.

Image by Prevention Institute.

Partnered with CDC on a resource to advance the implementation of equitable transportation and land use policies.

We developed Toward Equitable Transportation and Land Use Policies: Strategies for Advancing Implementation, a resource for government staff, elected/appointed officials, health equity and racial justice organizations, and funders to highlight methods and strategies for building community power to drive equitable implementation. PI partnered with 15 practitioners to identify emerging strategies and models, drawing inspiration from successful local examples (e.g., Akron Civic Commons, Chicago’s ETOD Policy, and Propel ATL’s Implementation Tracker). The resource presented two new frameworks to support strategic planning: (1) a set of eight key factors that drive implementation and (2) a continuum of implementation strategies across five distinct policy stages.

Building on clear guidelines for taking action, allocating resources, and ensuring accountability once a policy or plan is adopted, the resource guide also provides insights on how to cultivate follow-through by working with community groups and movements.

Funder: Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with support from Cooperative Agreement OT18-1802 as part of the Active People, Healthy Nation Initiative. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

Image by Celery Design.

Developed online community safety modules for CDC grantees and partners to integrate health equity and racial justice into practices and programming.

We developed Health Equity in Practice modules to support violence prevention partners in integrating health equity and racial justice into their practice and programming. Each module outlines specific action steps that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) program recipients and other partners can use to integrate health equity into their work through training, tools, and resources.

The modules were adapted into a learning series in which nearly 200 public health professionals discussed and provided input into the racial justice principles and frameworks, the role of “Big P” and “little p” policy in advancing racial justice and safety, successes and lessons learned from communications and narrative strategies, and more. This work continues to inform our community safety and violence prevention work, including our new CDC-funded Strategies for Youth & Neighborhood Centered Safety project.

Funder: Division of Violence Prevention, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with support from Cooperative Agreement Number NU38OT000305. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

Image “Advocacy and Mobilization Workshop” by inclusivesecurity on Creative Commons.

Strengthened capacity to advance upstream approaches to the opioid epidemic and rehabilitation.

We continued our work with the National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center to offer free support to those who provided or planned to provide substance use harm reduction services to their communities. As one of a group of technical assistance providers, we lent our expertise in community-driven approaches to strengthen community assets and resources that prevent substance misuse and foster long-term recovery.

We facilitated three online training opportunities for a network of community health centers and a county public health department. We also conducted a training on racial justice and health equity for the collective of technical assistance providers. Our focus on meaningful and impactful collaboration, addressing community trauma and building resilience, and centering health equity and racial justice approaches deepened participants' understanding of essential frameworks that can guide their day-to-day harm reduction programming.

Efforts to uplift resources on going further upstream will continue to shape our work in the substance use and misuse space, including in our new project, Supporting Local Governments Using Opioid Settlement Funds on Evidence Based Programs, supported by CDC.

Funders: National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD).

Image by Prevention Institute.

Elevated upstream strategies to advance safety through trainings and webinars.

PI elevated strategies to integrate upstream approaches to violence prevention and safety through a variety of in-person and virtual learning spaces.

Funder: Santa Clara County Health Department; RTI International; Valor U.S.; New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault; New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Image by Richmond Main Street Initiative.

Published a book chapter on inclusive community engagement.

We authored a chapter, “Public Health’s Essential Ingredient: Inclusive Community Engagement,” which places community engagement at the center of equitable public health practice, emphasizing the opportunity to establish long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with a range of community organizations. This chapter was released in the book, Building Strategic Skills for Better Health: A Primer for Public Health Professionals, a field guide that explores nine cross-cutting skills for successful leadership and management of health agencies.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and amid resounding calls for racial justice and repeated environmental disasters, our chapter underscores the necessity for trusted relationships within and across communities to achieve better public health outcomes. Many community-rooted groups are rising to meet these challenges and opportunities, and should be recognized as part of the public health ecosystem that protects and prepares their respective communities. In this chapter, we suggest that strengthened, authentic engagement and partnership with community-rooted groups lays the groundwork for more effective public health practice, and is necessary to achieve health equity across the public health functions of assessment, policy development, and assurance.

Funder: Prevention Institute relies on core support and unrestricted funds to meet requests for resource development that benefits the field of public health.

Image of Building Strategic Skills for Better Health book cover.

Systems and Policy Transformation: Changing systems and policies to produce equitable health, safety, and wellbeing.

Advocated for policies and supported activities that advance health equity and racial justice in California.

With California facing a budget deficit, 2023 was a vital year for PI to continue boldly advocating for policies that protect and grow investments for community health, safety, and wellbeing, and address racism as an underlying threat to public health. We engaged with grassroots community organizations, statewide advocates, government staff, and elected officials on pressing health issues by partnering with statewide coalitions to expand paid family leave, advance housing as a human right, and inform the implementation of the state’s Racial Equity Commission; developed guidance to the California Natural Resources Agency on how to further “bake” equity into its Outdoors for All Initiative; and mobilized over 70 participants to conduct 18 legislative meetings with state legislators to advocate for equitable health policies at the 19th annual—and first hybrid—ENACT Day, a legislative advocacy day. We continued to serve on the Department of Health Care Services’ Proposition 64 Advisory Group to inform investments in Elevate Youth California, a program which has invested $205 million to date in community-based organizations that foster youth leadership and civic engagement in communities most impacted by the War on Drugs. Last year, we supported the success of essential policy efforts, including bills that increase paid sick and safe days from 3 to 5 days (SB 616) and expand tenant protections and prevent homelessness (SB 567), and a budget initiative to maintain $1.5 million in funding for the Racial Equity Commission.

Funders: Prevention Institute relies only on unrestricted funds to support our limited grassroots and direct lobbying efforts. Non-lobbying support was provided by The California Endowment; Blue Shield of California Foundation; and The California Wellness Foundation.

Image by ENACT Day communications team.

Partnered with CDC to develop a toolkit of Health Equity Indicators.

We worked with the Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a health equity indicators toolkit for health departments, city government agencies, and other organizations working to advance and measure progress on health equity. The toolkit emphasizes the structural determinants of health, including racism, as root causes of inequities that impact outcomes in communities, including in neighborhoods and healthcare settings. We led the preliminary development of the conceptual model, engaged subject matter experts and local practitioners to incorporate their feedback and expertise, and drafted the toolkit structure and language. CDC then conducted field testing on specific indicators before finalizing and publishing the toolkit in September of 2023. The toolkit can be used to embed equity indicators and methodology into all aspects of policy and systems change, including strategy development, planning, spatial analysis, site selection, implementation of programs, and evaluation. It also represents a shift in how CDC communicates about the importance of structural factors in its measurement and evaluation activities.

Funder: Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with support from Cooperative Agreements No. 6 NU38OT000305-02-01 and 6 NU38OT000305-03-01.

Image by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Launched a statewide partnership to explore long-term, durable funding for prevention and health equity.

We launched our partnership with Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII) and Fresno Building Healthy Communities (Fresno BHC) for a five-year initiative to catalyze innovative health financing through new, durable, substantial funding streams that support community-rooted health efforts and power building. Leveraging $15 million in funding from The California Endowment’s social bond investment, our vision for the initiative is to strengthen, expand, and coordinate advocacy efforts underway in communities across the state to align public investments with health equity and racial justice. Together with our networks and partners across the state, we will elevate models of funding that create accountability for closing gaps in historically under-resourced communities. We will strengthen momentum for transformative investments that aim to take corrective action and redress historical forces behind present-day health inequities, as a true commitment to health equity and racial justice involves realigning funds and other resources to make change possible.

Funder: The California Endowment.

Image, “Collaboration in Care,” by Franceska Gamez.

Nurtured policy partnerships to emphasize the intersections between public health and racial justice.

We redesigned our Policy Portal to share specific advocacy actions across our intersecting policy priorities. As we continued to deepen our federal policy partnerships to emphasize the alignment across public health, racial justice, social justice, and civil rights priorities, we also strengthened our own accountability. The portal reflects our commitment to “show our work” toward greater accountability and transparency as we learn from our partners and strengthen our own advocacy practices. From our efforts to secure increased funding for a public health approach to community safety to our support of immigration justice, we were guided by the values of interdependence and collective action, and the vision of our policy partners, including the Community Safety Working Group, Community Justice Action Fund and INVEST IN US Coalition, and the Children Thrive Action Network.

Funders: Prevention Institute relies only on unrestricted funds to support our limited grassroots and direct lobbying efforts. Non-lobbying support to expand our partnerships and networks was provided by The Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Image of the United States Capitol Building from iStockPhoto.

Strengthened state and federal policies for equitable and upstream approaches to mental health.

PI’s advocacy approach to mental health and wellbeing begins with the understanding that mental health is a health equity issue, and focuses on strengthening protective factors (such as social connection, economic opportunity, and safe communities) and removing barriers to wellbeing. In 2023, we worked with the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission to develop guidance for advancing mental health equity in the state through a focus on community-defined evidence practice. This guidance rests on a set of principles, including acknowledging structural racism and focusing on community-centeredness and transparency. An accompanying policy framework includes recommended actions such as embedding health equity and racial justice into state mental/behavioral health policy, programs, and systems from the beginning; shifting and sharing power and decision making with community members; bolstering partnerships; and strengthening narrative change and strategic communications.

Our approach to mental health and wellbeing is further reflected in our federal policy advocacy work, which included co-leading updates to Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder title of the Health Equity Accountability Act alongside the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) for the third year; participating in a national partner convening to provide feedback on CDC’s new framework on mental health promotion and suicide prevention; and co-sponsoring and providing remarks at congressional briefings on the Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act of 2023.

Funders: Prevention Institute relies only on unrestricted funds to support our limited grassroots and direct lobbying efforts. Non-lobbying support to strengthen our mental health policy work was provided by the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission.

Image by by Joel Muniz.

Provided strategic planning to local governmental agencies leading systems change efforts.

We worked with local governmental jurisdictions to develop strategic plans and frameworks that advance prevention, health equity, and racial justice.

In Riverside County (CA), we led the development of a health equity strategic plan, designed to serve as a roadmap for implementing action and next steps following the County’s 2020 resolution declaring racism a public health crisis. The strategic plan will be publicly available later in 2024 on Riverside County’s Diversity Equity Inclusion and Access webpage, and will serve as an essential resource for integrating equity and justice approaches into County departments, programs, and policies.

In Buncombe County (NC), we provided coaching and document development support for the Buncombe County Community Safety & Violence Prevention Plan. This process and document were based on PI’s Community Safety Realized framework and adapted for implementation in Buncombe County. The planning resulted in a solid community and racial justice-centered direction, identification of priorities, and success in securing $2.5 million from Buncombe County Fiscal Recovery Funds (related to the American Rescue Plan Act) and $1.5 million in Department of Justice Community Violence Intervention funds.

The State of Black LA report included language and suggested frameworks from our previous work with the Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (ARDI) Initiative in Los Angeles County (CA); a number of our policy recommendations also were included in LA County’s legislative affairs 2023–24 state and federal policy platforms.

Funders: Riverside University Health System; Buncombe County.

Image by Matt Gush on iStockPhoto.

Momentum Building: Strengthening a prevention and health equity ecosystem while shifting fields, norms, and narratives.

Explored and strengthened the connections between public health practice and social justice movements through a timeline of resistance.

As part of our work to strengthen a system of prevention for health equity and racial justice, we developed a Timeline of Resistance, an interactive tool and resource that uncovers and amplifies the connections between public health and social justice movements. Following the history of public health’s social justice origins, the virtual timeline then highlights a selection of historical and contemporary social and racial justice movements led by people of color. The current timeline includes efforts to establish the conditions for thriving communities through actions that advance liberation towards anti-racism, as well as economic, labor, and educational justice. By drawing connections between past and present-day movements to dismantle systems of racism and injustice, the Timeline offers valuable lessons to strengthen public health practice in service of equity and racial justice. The Timeline was piloted in 2023 during a training series on Embedding Equity with the Houston Health Department and at the Young Minds Matter conference. It will be publicly released in 2024.

Funder: The W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Image by Prevention Institute.

Worked with philanthropy to spur transformation and accelerate health equity.

We continued to work with foundations and funder collaboratives to advance equitable prevention, such as our continued coordination of the California Funders Workgroup on Prevention and Equity.* We also engaged in the following:

In partnership with the St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund, we released a new report, Building Partnerships and Power for the Future: Insights from the Intersections Initiative. This report details a four-year learning community of seven California partnerships focused on equitable health and wellness strategies. It describes the initiative’s design; lessons learned about capacity building, advancing health equity, and working upstream; and offers recommendations for grant makers in pursuit of more community-driven grantmaking. The report is accompanied by an overview video and community videos showcasing the on-the-ground impact of Intersections.

As long-term strategic advisors to the Convergence Partnership, a funders collaborative, we supported the development of a session on reparative philanthropic practices to advance racial justice as part of the CHANGE Philanthropy 2023 Unity Summit. This standing room only discussion brought together community leaders and funders in a frank and lively exchange on the actions that funders can take to interrogate their practices and authentically share power and resources with community leaders.

*The California Funders Workgroup on Prevention and Equity includes Blue Shield of California Foundation, the Sierra Health Foundation, The California Endowment, St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund, and The California Wellness Foundation.

Funders: St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund; Convergence Partnership.

Image of Building Partnerships and Power for the Future report cover.

Co-hosted Young Minds Matter, a conference focused on Transforming Our Communities Collectively.

In collaboration with the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, we coordinated the convening of Texas leaders, advocates, and youth for Young Minds Matter, a day of conversations around supporting youth mental health through community transformation efforts. The core design team played an essential role in planning and hosting the conference, and included Hogg Foundation and Prevention Institute staff, community leaders, representatives of the 10 Communities of Care collaboratives, students across the Greater Houston Area, and partners from the University of Texas Houston School of Public Health and Harris County Department of Education.

The hybrid event drew in nearly 350 in-person and virtual participants, who benefited from the wealth of knowledge shared across an opening youth panel, poster presentations, and 25+ workshops and panel discussions. Key conference themes included engaging youth and community as change agents; lifting up youth voices for change; creating healthy community environments for youth and families; sustaining collective efforts and partnerships; preserving communities and culture; and advancing health equity and racial justice.

Watch this video to get a feel for the energy and commitment expressed at this conference, including by young people.

Funder: Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.

Image by Hunter Shackelford.

Advanced field building and narrative change to elevate park and land use equity.

Since the inception of our People, Parks, and Power (P3) initiative, we have emphasized field building and narrative change. PI has elevated the importance of parks as a public health issue, and the call for park equity and land justice has continued to grow among historically marginalized communities, conservation groups, funders, and public agencies. We have uplifted the connections between green space inequity and other community priorities, such as climate resilience, environmental justice, food security, Indigenous sovereignty, housing affordability, and racial justice. We had the opportunity to share the importance of addressing climate and environmental justice through park equity and power-building with colleagues at the American Public Health Association 2023 annual meeting in Atlanta and in an Op-Ed in Nonprofit Quarterly. This work has helped to elevate the relationship between green space equity, health, and climate resilience, and move community power-building out of the fringes and into the center of these efforts.

We have also worked to broaden the parks and green space field so that it embraces and represents the visions and concerns of communities that have suffered the impacts of green space inequities for generations. We were able to share perspectives from the frontlines through a series of webinars, in partnership with City Parks Alliance, engaging government and public agencies. Additionally, with support from academics in the field, we developed a community-centered agenda to inform future research on advancing park and green space equity. Implementation of this research agenda will help ensure community perspectives are foundational to future park and green space equity research.

Funders: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Image by Grace Cotangco.

Built momentum for upstream prevention in health systems and the frontline workforce.

PI provided training, technical assistance, and consultation to integrate upstream prevention approaches in health systems and among frontline healthcare workers. By lifting up the voices and lived experiences of community members, we have helped systems shift to more upstream approaches that identify solutions before the onset of harm.

  • We worked with the University of Texas School of Public Health’s Health Equity Collective, in partnership with consultant Nadia Siddiqui, to conduct a national landscape scan and develop a framework to advance equity strategies for the Community Health Worker workforce in Greater Houston.
  • We engaged in an ongoing thought partnership with the CARESTAR Foundation to identify ways to strengthen emergency services and pre-hospital care so that the system is more community-centered and equity-focused.
  • We conducted a training series on integrating upstream approaches rooted in health equity and racial justice for the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, whose constituents are community health centers primarily serving people experiencing homelessness.
  • We partnered with the FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) on the Prevention Mindset Institute (PMI). The PMI has supported state child welfare and prevention teams to establish goals for more prevention-focused, equitable environments. PI led discussions and a session entitled, “Community, Staff, and Family Wellness: Moving Towards Collective Wellness” at the CBCAP Annual Grantee Meeting.

Funders: University of Texas School of Public Health; CARESTAR Foundation; National Health Care for the Homeless Council; FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention.

Image of multicolored hands from iStockPhoto.

Elevated community voice in framing for public health approaches to community safety.

We continued to expand the conversation in support of a public health approach to community safety. In early 2023 we co-launched a community safety ad campaign with Big Cities Health Coalition that reached 12 million people. The campaign highlights how community investments—including equitable access to affordable housing, green spaces, living wages, education, and more—can lead to healthier and safer futures. We also published a narrative and framing guidance report on behalf of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Our message was clear: building safer communities must embed health equity and racial justice from the start, center community voices, and prioritize strategies and policies that address the drivers of violence in our neighborhoods. As part of our efforts to help change the conversation and build a movement for safer communities, we presented at multiple conferences, including at the annual Agents of Change summit, Safe States Alliance conference, and the American Public Health Association meeting. We also presented to the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission to advance momentum for public health approaches to community safety among behavioral health governmental agency partners.

Funders: Annie E Casey Foundation; The Jacob & Valeria Langeloth Foundation.

Image by Nye' Lyn Tho.