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|Graduate School: Harvard School of Public Health
Undergraduate School: Washington University
Areas of interest: Public Health Disparities
Mentor: Joan Wallace Benjamin, Executive Director, The Home for Little Wanderers
Placement: Massachusetts Office of Health Disparities
Project description: The Office of Health Equity (OHE) at Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is committed to reducing health disparities while promoting health equity in the Commonwealth. The OHE wants the Fellow to lead a policy analysis to understand the distribution of commercial industry and health promotion resources (e.g. parks, fast food outlets, grocery stores, liquor stores, etc.) in the Commonwealth and how it might impact health. The analysis will focus primarily on East Somerville to inform the community engagement component of the Health Disparities Elimination program leading to policies related to the built environment. Kia will conduct qualitative informational interviews with staff across Bureaus at DPH as well as affiliates in other sectors (housing, transportation, etc.) to inform the analysis. The interview of our affiliates will also address interest, opportunities and challenges in working cross-sector on health related issues. This work will be used to inform development of cross-sector partnerships to use institutional transformation in efforts to reduce disparities and promote health equity in Massachusetts.
Specifically, Kia will: Identify one policy borne out of the cross-sector partnership established in E. Somerville and then:
• Discuss and enumerate the potential implications of this policy from a built environment/community development as well as health equity perspective based on research
• Identify what has been implemented to-date as a result of this policy being in place
• Identify and survey key informants – how did the policy come about, how did they engage in cross-sector work, etc.
• To the extent possible, map the development of or change in community resources – increase in grocery stores, less fast food development, (others to be determined)