Resilience, Health Equity, and Leadership
Focus of RWJ Grant Linking Pittsburgh and Glasgow, Scotland
Pittsburgh-–The Consumer Health Coalition was recently awarded a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to connect organizations from Pittsburgh and Glasgow, Scotland, to develop a community health strategy focused on resilience and health equity to help build a Culture of Health in Pittsburgh. The goal of this project is to learn from Glasgow’s experience building a fairer, more equal society by effectively connecting resiliency and health to improve health equity.
Principal investigators for the project include Lou Ann Jeremko, Executive Director of the Consumer Health Coalition, and Ken Thompson, M.D., Principal VisibleHands Consulting. The Consumer Health Coalition is a Pittsburgh-based non-profit focused on improving the health of the region and advocating for and assisting consumers with access to healthcare. Thompson is a public service psychiatrist focused on achieving health equity and improving psychiatric services in the community. Working with Resilient Pittsburgh and the Allegheny County Health Department, the research team will communicate with Resilient Glasgow and the Glasgow Centre for Population Health.
“We are honored to receive this grant,” said Jeremko. “We look forward to working with our partners here, Resilient Pittsburgh and the Allegheny County Health Department, and learning and exchanging ideas with our partners in Glasgow, Resilient Glasgow and the Glasgow Centre for Population Health.”
Thompson added, “There are similarities between Pittsburgh and Glasgow that make it worthwhile to examine the work that Glasgow has already done to link health and resiliency. Both cities are part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative and both citiesare focused on achieving health equity.” He noted that that the cities are linked by history and that both have experienced de-industrialization, population loss, land contamination and limited opportunities for employment and health. The grant will focus on the four strategic pillars used by the 100 Resilient Cities program (http://www.100resilientcities.org). These include: place-based solutions, economic growth, community empowerment and civic participation.
“This grant offers us an unprecedented opportunity to learn from Glasgow and connect the community health improvement plan-the Plan for a Healthier Allegheny (PHA) – with Resilient Pittsburgh here at home to improve health inequalities,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department.
“The City of Pittsburgh is really honored to work with both of our local partners and our colleagues in Glasgow. We’ve learned a lot of lessons during the process of building the City’s first resilience strategy over the last year – a process shared with the City of Glasgow through the 100 Resilient Cities initiative,” said Grant Ervin, City of Pittsburgh Chief Resilience Officer.
“We’re excited about this trade of learning and knowledge between Resilient Cities, Glasgow and Pittsburgh. It will be very interesting to see how these two communities collaborate and learn from each other to accelerate their 100 Resilient Cities progress,’’ said Michael Painter, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Focusing hard on resilience and health equity are key pieces of building a Culture of Health here in the United States. Without question we need the best thinking and experiences from around the world to achieve that vision. We will all learn a great deal from this work and hope to see more communities embrace this sort of exchange.”
Continuously improving the health and well-being of residents is a priority area of Pittsburgh’s resilience strategy. Exploration, application and knowledge exchange between cities like Glasgow and Pittsburgh, given their similarities and unique approaches, is a smart way of advancing each other’s goals.
The project will include informal exchanges between the partners as well as visits by the grant partners to both cities. The project will culminate with a presentation in Pittsburgh to the ACHD advisory coalition of the PHA, seeking commitments to action around policies and interventions for improved health equity outcomes.