Across jurisdictions and within communities—where health statistics lag behind local, state, and national averages—ARCHI’s partners engage in tactically precise practices to confront our region’s health inequities.
Senior Farmers Market Vouchers Bolster East Point Farmers Market
At the first AHEAD working group meeting the challenge of growing the EP Farmers Market was discussed—not enough people are coming because there aren’t enough farmers, there aren’t enough farmers because there weren’t enough people coming. The Atlanta Regional Commission worked with the EP Farmers Market to make it’s $20 vouchers for people over the age of 60 available to individuals who came to the market in July 2015. This allowed the market to recruit more farmers because they had a guaranteed crowd with a certain amount of funds to spend. The team also worked with Wholesome Wave and SNAP to double the vouchers. This was so successful for both the older adults and the EP Market that when additional vouchers became available from the state, these were again applied to the EP Farmers Market attendees in September 2015.
The EP Farmers Market is now on a growth trajectory as the crowds created by the vouchers have continued to draw both farmers and market customers. The Atlanta Regional Commission now regularly targets the senior farmers market vouchers to markets that are still in their start-up phase and continue to experience the same success in different parts of the region.
The City of East Point was selected as an area of focus for the PICH grant’s active living work. As a result, the PICH team has worked with several of the ARCHI working group partners to complete a walking audit, create a database of detailed sidewalk conditions in main areas of the community, and identify the local barriers to Complete Streets implementation.
Shared Initiatives in the DeLowe Village Community
This low-income housing community is owned by ANDP. Its residents are in many ways representative of the larger East Point community and need support to improve their health, health access, food access and economic opportunities. Resources of the ARCHI partners and others have been leveraged to provide after school supports, cooking and healthy eating classes, to rebuild a playground and landscaping to encourage physical activity. More partnerships are on the way to continue to support these residents and this important affordable housing development in the community.
Standing with Our Neighbors
The Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation has for many years advocated for tenant rights for residents of Fulton County who may be wrongly facing eviction or forced to live in substandard conditions by absentee landlords. Eradicating mold, repairing roof leaks, ensuring adequate heat and cooling systems these repairs not only met basic codes and legal criteria but AVLF began to understand the impact they were having on conditions like asthma, pneumonia, and other chronic conditions. ARCHI partnered AVLF with Kaiser Permanente so now while the lawyers bring the landlords to court, immediate improvements through humidifiers, filters and other equipment can bring the family relief.
Activating Youth Leadership to Improve Community Health
In June 2016, the Tri Cities Stewardship Group was given an opportunity to participate in the pilot Community Health Worker (CHW) training program and provide up to twenty local high school students a paid four-week CHW training and internship through the Morehouse School of Medicine. Sixteen students were selected to participate, thirteen students successfully completed the four-week CHW training program, and the Morehouse School of Medicine hired one high school graduate as a full-time Community Health Worker.
In August 2017, the second group of 25 high school students completed the program receiving their CHW certification. The 2017 training program participants were mentored by the previous summer’s graduates. Over the next year the students will monitor the health of family or community members and connect them to needed resources, fulfilling the program’s goals of improving health monitoring and health literacy in the community.
ARCHI partners played a variety of roles including developing various aspects of the program and funded its implementation.
Multi-System Community Health Needs Assessment
Through a combined investment in the CHNA process, the health systems were able to leverage resources and more efficiently and economically gather and analyze data. This included substantial community input from a broad array of organizations and individuals, including those representing business, community-based organizations, the faith community, health providers, government, philanthropy, and social service providers.
“The real question is why wouldn’t we do this together,” says Madelyn R. Adams, from Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, who represents ARCHI as a board member and as a participating CHNA organization. “We are serving the same people and have the same goal of reducing health disparities in the Atlanta area. No one organization can do what we can all do together.”
The economy of scale of the CHNA enabled a more comprehensive assessment of health and well-being that incorporated transportation, education, and economic issues.
The CHNA uncovered significant community health needs in the areas of the uninsured, diabetes, STD/HIV, hypertension, obesity, mental/behavioral health, prostate cancer, injury/violence, low birth weight, poverty, breast cancer, and high school education nonattainment. In addition to the unprecedented level of cooperation displayed in conducting the CHNA, these health systems presently are considering ways they can work together to address identified health issues.
DeKalb Residents Enhance Leadership Skills
DeKalb residents participated in a series of community meetings to assess their communities’ assets, needs, and priorities. The need for cultural competency and timely advocacy arose as a priority issue across communities and topic areas. To address these needs ARCHI organized a DeKalb Leadership Learning Series to build the capacity of local leaders to create community change with a focus on addressing the social determinants of health. Eleven participants, which included representation from neighborhoods, non-profits, and health care systems, completed the four-session series. The focus of the series was on the social determinants of health, cultural competency, and community engagement. Mary Gude participated in the series and was connected to Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership Inc (ANDP). She will gain additional training and represent South DeKalb to coordinate a large-scale training for metro neighborhood leaders.
ARCHI is a growing coalition of public, private and nonprofit organizations committed to improving the region’s health. If your organization shares this goal, please consider joining us.