It is often said that ZIP code is more important than genetic code in determining one’s health and opportunities. If that’s the case, how can pediatricians enable healthy and opportunity-rich environments for all children?
A recent article published in the November-December 2021 issue of ScienceDirect presents successful examples of community development efforts targeting child health and opportunity and highlights ways for pediatricians to advise, collaborate, and partner to accelerate and maximize the impact of billions of dollars invested in support of healthier neighborhoods where children can grow and thrive.
The paper, “Neighborhood Poverty and Child Health: Investing in Communities to Improve Childhood Opportunity and Well-Being,” was authored by Doug Jutte, M.D., executive director of Build Healthy Places Network, a national organization with the mission to transform the way organizations work together across the health, community development, and finance sectors to more effectively reduce poverty, advance racial equity, and improve health in neighborhoods across the United States. Their work to leverage cross-sector collaboration and community-centered investments to reduce poverty, improve health and advance racial equity has influenced the Purpose Built Communities approach to improving health outcomes across the country.
The Purpose Built Communities Network is made up of dozens of local organizations that are leading holistic neighborhood revitalization initiatives. Collectively, we are creating better health outcomes for people today while pursuing greater racial equity and conditions that support upward mobility. Our Network Members provide programs, facilities and resources to help increase the quality of life, health and even life expectancy for residents.
Dr. Jutte also has presented on multiple occasions at annual Purpose Built conferences, outlining how community development can intentionally improve short and long-term health outcomes.
- Health happens in neighborhoods (and what to do about it)
- The doctor is out. Health is where you live, learn, work and play
Community development investments tend to target high-poverty neighborhoods and focus on improving the upstream determinants of children’s health and well-being. According to this recent paper, the push for pediatricians to engage in collaborative, cross-sector work to mitigate the early-life drivers of health inequities is growing–good news as communities are confronting the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the increasing health consequences of climate change and other mounting challenges.