November 2015 Learning Collaborative Meeting

Partners working across the state of New York convened for the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund Learning Collaborative Meeting on November 11-12, 2015.

The meeting provided a variety of opportunities for networking and learning, and included focused sessions about healthy food access strategies. Meeting participants included partners from the nine sites, the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), the New York Community Trust (NYCT), Active Living By Design (ALBD), and other partner organizations.

Presentation slides and resources are hyperlinked within the agenda below.

Monday, November 11  |  Two Bridges Neighborhood  |  3:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.

Two Bridges Neighborhood: Walking Tour with Community Partners

Welcome and Overview by Hosts from Two Bridges Neighborhood Council

Tour participants explored this culturally rich neighborhood and learned about Two Bridges Neighborhood Council’s (TBNC) partner organizations, including Chinatown YMCA, Gouverneur Health, Community Access, and P.S. 184. These allies in health shared how they are working together to transform the Two Bridges neighborhood into a place where all members of a very diverse community will have access to healthy food, be connected to collaborative health resources in the neighborhood, and have safe opportunities for physical activity. During the one-mile walking tour with indoor and outdoor stops, participants saw the East River Waterfront, Pier 35, a proposed site for a healthy schoolyard project, TBNC’s fresh food box site, a long-time neighborhood health center, traffic calming measures and a potential future site for an affordable full-service supermarket.

Networking Dinner

Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, Community Room, 80 Rutgers Slip

This dinner event was a time to share reflections and insights from the neighborhood tour, as well as engage in informal conversations and networking with fellow Healthy Neighborhoods Fund sites and partners, NYSHealth, New York Community Trust, Active Living By Design, the NYU Evaluation Team and other invited guests.

Tuesday, November 12  |  The Ford Foundation (East River Room)  |  7:15 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Breakfast Roundtable Discussion

Marice Ashe, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, ChangeLab Solutions, Oakland, CA

Meeting participants had an opportunity to engage in an informal discussion focused on how ChangeLab Solutions’ resources and people can help Healthy Neighborhoods Fund sites achieve their goals.

Welcome, Reflections on Day 1 and Overview of Day 2

  • Lourdes Rodriguez, Program Officer, NYSHealth
  • Irfan Hasan, Senior Program Officer, Health & People with Special Needs, NYCT

Community Quarterbacks for Healthy Neighborhoods

The concept of “community quarterbacks” has recently emerged as a way to create stronger and more resilient communities. Community quarterbacks are trusted and established organizations that can articulate a vision, marshal funding sources, align the efforts of multiple partners toward common goals and serve as a bridge for effective communication. Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency has been community quarterback for various community health improvement initiatives including those that improve school food, play spaces and address community safety in Rochester. Mr. Norwood has spearheaded efforts to engage underserved populations in health care planning and improvement. He will provide practical guidance and lessons learned to lead agencies that are growing into their roles as community quarterbacks.

Food Systems and Healthy Food Retail

This first of two healthy food access sessions provided a food systems perspective of how each component – from growing to processing to marketing and consumption – influences healthy food access, and how participants can deepen their work around specific strategies in retail settings. The session began with presentations from resource experts, followed by smaller, concurrent discussion groups by sub-topics. Dwayne Wharton provided strategies and examples based on The Food Trust’s food retail work across the country, including those with grocery and corner stores. Skye Cornell shared lessons learned, tools and resources from Wholesome Wave to support healthy foods in farmers’ and pop-up markets, and through nutrition incentive strategies. Paul Nojaim provided an insider’s perspective as owner of a local, family-owned supermarket in Syracuse, New York, to help participants understand how to develop effective partnerships with store owners to improve healthy food access.


Instant Recess

Dr. Antronette (Toni) Yancey pioneered the concept of incorporating exercise into small bursts of activity that could be done by anyone, at any time. She used her national platform to transform home and workplace environments, schools, churches, and sports arenas as she spoke of the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. On April 23, 2013, Dr. Yancey passed away after a heroic fight against non-smokers’ lung cancer. Today, Dr. Yancey’s legacy is carried forward through the continuation of her lifelong passion, Instant Recess®. Join us in celebrating culture through physical activity during this energizing break!

Evaluation Update from the New York University Evaluation Team

  • Brian Elbel, Principal Investigator
  • Carolyn Berry, Co-Investigator
  • Paul Tainsh, Senior Evaluator

The NYU Evaluation Team presented an update on its process evaluation activities, as well as plans to collect baseline environmental and behavioral data in selected communities. In support of local efforts, the session shared examples from evaluations of other projects, as well as insights about what Healthy Neighborhoods Fund sites are doing to develop measures, methods and data management tools to support their efforts to increase healthy food access, make improvements to the built environment and create linkages to active living programs.

Lunch and Networking Breakouts

NYSHealth and Active Living By Design Staff

This networking session gave participants an opportunity to share a meal with other Healthy Neighborhoods Fund sites and exchange progress updates, challenges and opportunities related to collaboration, funding, project management and other topics. Participants were grouped into three breakout spaces with their regional peers.

  • Clinton County, Syracuse and Niagara Falls
  • East Harlem, Brownsville and Two Bridges
  • Claremont, Hunts Point and Mott Haven

Healthy Food Access in Community Settings

Building from the healthy food access session in the morning, this session provided additional opportunities for participants to learn and deepen their work around healthy food access in specific, relevant community settings. Based on the success of the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, Adam Becker highlighted the powerful role that community coalitions can play in influencing healthy food access in various community settings including city and park vending, farmers’ markets and restaurants. Jennifer Obadia spoke about Healthcare Without Harm’s strategies to improve healthy food access within the walls of hospital and healthcare settings, as well as outside the walls and into the community. Diane Hepps shared information about the New York City Food Standards and how it serves as the foundation for piloting Good Choice, a system that makes it easier for foodservice distributors to highlight the healthier products they carry for community venues including senior centers, day care centers and hospitals.

Presentations and Resources:

Reflections and Input from Sites

NYSHealth and Active Living By Design Staff

Healthy Neighborhoods Fund sites and partners were called upon in this interactive session to share their reflections from the meeting, identify exciting and promising actions they will take, and contribute ideas to strengthen the learning collaborative.

Next Steps and Closing Remarks

  • Lourdes Rodriguez, Program Officer, NYSHealth
  • Irfan Hasan, Senior Program Officer, Health & People with Special Needs, NYCT