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UHC at APHA and Lessons Learned from the West Philly Promise Neighborhood

People walking the Philadelphia convention center at 2019 APHA Annual Meeting

November 26, 2019

The 2019 APHA Annual Meeting was an exciting week for DSPH and the UHC. UHC was well represented at APHA and participated in the Housing and Health Equity Day of Action, Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues (SAAPHI)'s preconference meeting, and sessions on health in cities of the Americas, use of electronic health record data, residential segregation, and addressing trauma and resilience at the community level, among many others.

One of the sessions was all about lessons learned from the Promise Neighborhood project. The West Philly Promise Neighborhood grant was funded by the U.S. Department of Education and is led by Drexel, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia, the School District of Philadelphia, People’s Emergency Center, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and over 20 other organizations and service providers. “The initiative seeks to improve education, health, and economic successes by funding, and in particular linking together, programs that already exist in these schools and neighborhoods in West Philadelphia,” Amy Carroll-Scott, PHD, MPH, policy and community engagement core co-lead at the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative, said of the project in opening remarks at her session at the 2019 APHA conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Carroll-Scott’s presentation at the conference was about collecting population-based, longitudinal surveys from families in communities who are distrustful of researchers and federal place-based grants. Carroll-Scott mentioned that, “Families said they wanted to be heard throughout the timeline of the grant and we took that seriously.” This grant survey used a model of community surveyors who were hired from within the West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhood footprint. There are many benefits to using this model that include: residents respond better to neighbors knocking on doors than researchers; hiring community residents creates jobs and demonstrates Drexel and Promise Neighborhood commitment to sharing grant resources; surveyors have contributed to the development of a new Promise Zone committee that is creating a Community Research Review Board.

Félice Lê-Scherban, PhD, MPH, training core co-lead, Drexel Urban Health Collaborative, presented next in this session and focused on, “Integrating Data from Multiple City Systems to Coordinate Services and Measure Impacts Over Time.” Lê-Scherban’s presentation focused on the data linkages used for the West Philly Promise Neighborhood grant. “One of the goals for the Integrated Data System (IDS) is that it will serve as the backbone for all the research and evaluation activities to measure the impacts of what we are doing as part of the Promise Neighborhood,” Lê-Scherban mentioned.  You can read more about the West Philly Promise Neighborhood by visiting the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative project page.