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SALURBAL Team Returns to Lima, Peru for Sixth Biannual Project Meeting

Group shot of SALURBAL Sixth Biannual Project Meeting

Lima, Peru, November 11, 2019

Researchers of the Salud Urbana en América Latina (SALURBAL) project led by the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative met in Lima, Peru for their sixth gathering since the project started in 2017.

Sixty-seven attendees from nine countries attended the meeting, which was held from October 21-25 at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia.

Team members from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Peru met to provide updates on project data, systems modeling, policy evaluation studies, and dissemination activities, to discuss solutions for cross-cutting data and analytical issues, and to advance research proposals and publications.

On Monday and Tuesday, a small group of researchers participated in a high-level analysis workshop to discuss ways to advance ongoing analyses of SALURBAL data. A publications workshop held on Tuesday afternoon provided tips and resources to support collaborative writing and the preparation of scientific publications to effectively identify and reach target audiences with key messages.

Dean Ana Diez Roux speaks to participants at SALURBAL Sixth Biannual Project Meeting

The workshops were followed by three days of project meetings, where researchers discussed a variety of regional urban health issues including food and transport, air quality, emissions, climate change, governance, and urban health, food environment, and health promotion. The SALURBAL team was joined by representatives of the Wellcome Trust, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and CDP.

Attendees were particularly excited to hear updates from team members based at Universidad de los Andes, who are working closely with the government of Bogota, Colombia to evaluate the health impacts of the new cable car system launched in the city in December of 2018. The team is collecting a second wave of data in an effort to understand how this new transportation option is affecting environmental and social determinants of health, physical activity, and health outcomes among residents of Ciudad Bolivar, an informal settlement on the outskirts of the city. Results from their impact evaluation should be ready within one year for dissemination.

Classroom of attendees at SALURBAL Sixth Biannual Project Meeting

On Thursday evening, a group of project researchers participated in an event hosted by the public observatory Lima Cómo Vamos, which brought together community members and representatives of the public sector and civil society. The informal discussion centered on critical challenges for urban health in Lima, including traffic related mortality, air pollution, and noise pollution, as well as specific data and information needs and ways that the SALURBAL project and other similar initiatives can best advance the creation and application of a relevant evidence base to support local policymaking processes.

The biannual meeting and other activities throughout the week generated solutions to analytical challenges, new ideas for research questions, and strategies for dissemination, and resulted in decisions regarding next steps for multiple ongoing studies within the project.

Since April 2017, the SALURBAL project has brought together urban health researchers and practitioners from diverse countries and disciplines to examine links between Latin American urban environments and policies and health and environmental sustainability. The SALURBAL team spans 16 institutions in Latin America, two partner universities in the U.S., and two United Nations entities: The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Pan American Health Organization. Findings from the interdisciplinary and multinational project funded by the Wellcome Trust will uncover the ways city environments and policies affect health, as well as possible interactions between factors that could be both beneficial or harmful for health. Working with partners in international organizations and civil society, SALURBAL aims to generate and translate knowledge into actionable steps that policymakers and other decisionmakers can take to build cities that are healthier, more equitable, and more environmentally sustainable.