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Making Urban Health Research Actionable: Salud Urbana en America Latina (SALURBAL) Project Team Meets in Lima, Peru

Group photo SALURBAL Nov 2017

The SALURBAL project team and collaborators pictured at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, the meeting’s host.

December 4, 2017

Members of the Salud Urbana en America Latina (SALURBAL) project team and the Urban Health Network for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC-Urban Health), met in Lima, Peru in November for the SALURBAL project’s second biannual meeting. The three-day event brought together urban health researchers and practitioners from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, and the United States. On the last day, invited local experts also joined to present their work and discuss how research can be planned and communicated effectively to reach decision-makers.

Launched in April 2017, SALURBAL is a five-year project funded by the Wellcome Trust, with the aim of examining links between urban environments, urban policies, population health, and sustainability.

During the November meeting, team members gave updates on plans to advance policy outreach activities, including a strategy to communicate research findings as actionable knowledge. They also discussed how SALURBAL’s objectives can connect to global, regional, and national urban health agendas through participation in key events and platforms for exchange, such as the World Urban Forum in February 2018.

Meeting participants shared plans for the evaluation of urban redevelopment and housing interventions in Buenos Aires, Santiago, and Belo Horizonte and the TransMicable public transportation system in Bogota. Through these evaluations, SALURBAL is building relationships with local governments and regional development banks to capitalize on surveillance data and to improve the eventual translation of findings into regional and global urban policy.

Collaborators began preparing a policy brief focused on urban food environments and successful food policies and interventions in Latin America. SALURBAL’s systems group held their first workshop with regional transportation and food experts a few days before the meeting and reported back to the project team. The mapping and model building that resulted from the systems workshop reveals insights into dynamic and interrelated factors in urban environments, carrying implications for policy processes.

November’s meeting in Peru provided an opportunity to see how efforts are taking shape. Partners from the Economic Commission for Latin America, the World Bank, United Nations University, and the Brookings Institution, who help lead SALURBAL’s engagement with wider audiences, including policymakers and civil society, were also in attendance.

SALURBAL held its first biannual meeting in Bogota, Colombia, in May 2017 to begin collaborative planning for project implementation. Since the start of the project, researchers have made great progress towards gathering and harmonizing the data needed to answer the project’s research questions. Plans are underway to generate mortality profiles for Latin American cities to provide insights into how urban environments contribute to deaths from a range of causes.

SALURBAL will next convene in Guatemala City in May 2018 to launch the project’s second activity year.