The Healthy Cleveland Initiative
2016 Annual Report

Table of Contents

Thank you 


Who We Are 

Mission

Vision

Membership

Committee Overviews


Quick Facts


2016 HCI Committee Highlights

Active Living

Behavioral Health 

Breathe Free

Health Literacy

Healthy Eating

Healthy Neighborhoods

Violence Prevention

Thank you!

From the Director of Public Health

The past year at Healthy Cleveland has been fantastic! We want to thank everyone who has made this initiative such a success as we continue to build a happier and healthier city! On behalf of the Cleveland Department of Public Health we would like to extend our most sincere gratitude to everyone who has been a part of this initiative so far and are integral to its success.

We want to thank all of our dedicated and supportive partners:

The ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County, Age-Friendly Cleveland, American Dairy Association, American Heart Association, American Stroke Association, American Lung Association, Big Elephant, Bike Cleveland, CareSource, Carmella Rose Health Foundation, Case Western Reserve University Schubert Center, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Department of Public Health, Children Hunger Alliance, City of Cleveland, City of Cleveland Water, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland City Planning Commission, Cleveland Clinic, CMHA, Cleveland Metroparks, The Cutting Board, Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Diabetes Partnership, Drink Local Drink Tap, Dwellworks, The Forest City Weingart Produce Company, Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, Health Action Council, Prevention Research Centers at Case Western Reserve University, HIP-Cuyahoga, Lungevity, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, May Dugan Center, Medical Mutual, Mental Health and Addiction Advocacy Coalition, MetroHealth, MetroWest Community Development Corporation, Molina Healthcare, Mt. Sinai, Murtis H. Taylor, Neighborhood Family Practice, NEO Restoration Alliance, North Coast Urban Farms, Northern Ohio Recovery Association, Northeast Shores, Omni Media, Perfectly Imperfect Produce, Recovery Resources, RTA, Safe Routes to School, Saint Luke's Foundation, St. Vincent Medical Charity Medical Center, Seeds of Literacy, Sisters of Charity Health System, Sustainable Cleveland 2019, The Center for Health Affairs, The Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland, The Gathering Place, Tremont West Development Corporation, United Way 211, University Hospitals, University Settlement, Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio, Vitamix, YMCA, Your Story on Film, ZENworks Yoga.


To our Research Associates

We also wanted to thank our research associates for all their hard work over the past year in making Healthy Cleveland what it is!

Niru Murali

The Ohio State University-Environmental Public Health

Natalie Ranger

Case Western Reserve University-Social Work and Public Health

Emma Maloney

Case Western Reserve University-Social Work and Nonprofit Management

Osaro Osagie-Igho

Kent State University-School of Public Health


To Our Funders

Without the kind support and resources of our funders, much of what we do would not be possible. We have received a total of 3 grants in 2016 which have helped us carry out this very important work. We have been lucky enough to receive the following grants:

NACCHO Point of Sales Capacity grant-$3,000

The Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge grant-$10,000

CareSource Foundation grant for k2 Spice Awareness Campaign-$9,800 

Who we are

Healthy Cleveland, also known as the Healthy Cleveland Initiative, is a partnership of individuals, nonprofits, and businesses seeking the common goal of creating a healthier Cleveland for us to live, play, and work in. 

Mission

Our mission is to create a healthy Cleveland by addressing all social determinants of health impacting stakeholders where they live, work, and play as we leverage policies, partnerships, and programs within our community that enhance quality of life and reduce inequity. 

Vision

Our vision for Healthy Cleveland reflects that of our Mayor:

A Healthy Cleveland is one in which Clevelanders have access to preventive care; have resources to fight and prevent chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease; can get help with drug addiction and mental health issues; with neighborhoods that are walkable, have green space, and access to local foods; neighborhoods that are invested in a way that builds their strengths and addresses their weaknesses.

Mayor Frank G. Jackson

January 6, 2014

Third Inaugural Address

Membership

The Healthy Cleveland Initiative is not just about what one person or organization does, but rather about we all do together to create a healthy city. We are an initiative of the the Cleveland Department of Public Health with seven subcommittees. Each committee has a focus in on a different area of health, and is comprised of members as well as co-chairs. These committees are open for anyone to join, with monthly meetings to discuss what work they are doing as a committee. There's a place at Healthy Cleveland for everyone! 

Social Media

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to see the latest updates and news about Healthy Cleveland!

Our Committees...

Active Living: 

The mission of the Active Living Committee is to increase the physical activity of residents in Cleveland

Behavioral Health

The mission of the Behavioral Health Committee is  to establish public awareness and knowledge to promote understanding and acceptance of behavioral health concepts and increase the utilization of behavioral health resources

Breathe Free

The mission of the Breathe Free Committee is to decrease tobacco use among Cleveland residents and promote high standards for clean air

Health Literacy

The mission of the Health Literacy Committee is to create opportunities for Cleveland residents to learn about their health and well-being and connect them to resources that support health and wellness over their lifetime. 

Healthy Eating

The mission of the Healthy Eating Committee is to promote the consumption of healthy foods and beverages to people who live, work and play in Cleveland

Healthy Neighborhoods

The mission of the Healthy Neighborhoods Committee is to create the conditions in Cleveland's neighborhoods where people have equitable access to resources and opportunities to lead healthy lives.

Violence Prevention

The mission of the Violence Prevention Committee is to bring together partnerships that increase community awareness of violence prevention. 

Quick Facts: A 2016 Summary

Community Engagement

A big part of creating a healthier Cleveland is making sure we are engaged with community members so that we are working towards a city that reflects the wants and needs of those who live here. Below are just a few of the activities we were able to be a part of, which brought us in contact with over 21,000 individuals throughout Cleveland.

•World No Tobacco Day

•Night Market CLE

•Council on State and Territorial Epidemiologist Conference

•ciCLEvia: Cleveland's Open Streets Movement

•Sustainable Cleveland Summit

•Great American Smokeout

Collective Impact

One of the best parts about Healthy Cleveland is getting to work together. We've been lucky enough to collaborate with some great groups so far as we works towards creating a healthier city. We work with coalition based groups such as HIP-Cuyahoga, the Minority Health Advisory Board, Safe Routes to School and Clevelanders In Motion!


2016 HCI Committee Highlights

Over the past year, each committee has been hard at work achieving their mission and goals. Read on to discover an in-depth look at not only what each is doing, but also why. Who knows, maybe you'll find your perfect fit within one! Simply click on the header for each committee to be brought to their page on the Healthy Cleveland website.

Current Landscape

Nationally, 43.5% of adults engaged moderately intense aerobic physical activity for at least 150 minutes each week, 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity, or a combination of the two in 2008. However, as of 2013 more than 80% of adults do not meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity. A lack of access to active living opportunities can lead to the development of chronic disease for American adults.  Within the state of Ohio, between 50 and 55% of adults do not meet the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity per day.

Although many Clevelanders want to have active lifestyles, they often may not know where to go for fun and safe opportunities to do so. With issues ranging from uneven sidewalks, lack of bike lanes, fear for personal safety, and lack of parks within walking distance from their homes, Cleveland residents have many barriers to active and healthier lifestyles. 

Why does it matter

All across Cleveland partners are doing amazing and innovative work to help inform Cleveland residents about the importance of physical activity. Work is being done to both understand and remove the existing barriers to active living in the city. By understanding the barriers, we can target both our individual and collective work to make it easier and more fun for Cleveland residents to become more physically active and live healthier lives.


What we are doing about it?

The Active Living Committee is working to increase the physical activity of Cleveland residents. They are reducing barriers to accessing and utilizing active living opportunities by acting as a liaison between the community members and decision-makers. They are promoting existing opportunities for physical activity, as well as encouraging the development of innovative new programs and initiatives. They are committed to supporting the collaborative work of committee members.

In the Community

We wanted to highlight a few case examples for you of what other Active Living Committee members have been up to around Cleveland. 

Midway: A proposed protected cycling network that would be implemented over the city's streets to help create a more sustainable and bike friendly Cleveland!

Recess Cleveland: Pop-up recess events around the city aiming to increase physical activity and social-emotional growth through old-school recess activities!

Bus Stop Moves: The art project located at RTA bus shelters around Cleveland that illustrates health tips and simple exercises so you can stay active while waiting for the bus!

Our Specific Subcommittee

This past summer the Active Living Committee partnered to produce a series of open streets events known as ciCLEvia, where a portion of West 25th Street was closed for a several hours to cars and open to all sorts of people powered movement! CiCLEvia reached over 1,500 participants in 2016 and plans to increase in both participants and geographic reach in 2017.

What's next?

In the coming months, we are working developing our policy agenda, continuing to build up partnerships and connections around the city, and are currently in the beginning stages of developing an active living resource app to be made available for public use!

Current Landscape

So often behavioral health is not viewed the same as physical health, even though both should be treated equally in order to live a healthy life. There is currently a stigma around the discussion of behavioral health issues that can stop people from discussing it or taking it as seriously as they should. From 2010 to 2014, there were 195 suicides within the city of Cleveland, which makes up 28% of Cuyahoga County's total number of suicides in those years. Only 2% of suicide victims lived in zip codes whose poverty level was lower than Ohio's average. In the year 2014, Ohio saw 1,464 suicides. Behavioral health effects everyone, and as such should be addressed in a way that allows for all to discuss and find support in it. 

Why does it matter

The behavioral health committee has the expertise to identify issues within our locality related to behavioral health which could benefit from the scale of action that a cohort of experts on the subject, consumers, advocacy groups and other leaders in the field can support. As one example, after the group agreed that addressing stigma was a goal within its scope, it developed a pamphlet on behavioral health (Behavioral Health: What It Is and How It Affects You). There are other projects we have developed that support the purpose. Having the broad representation of mental health and addictions providers and consumers at the table was important for this specific project; we wanted to incorporate a well-rounded perspective to produce a document that was accessible to persons with low literacy and could inform/reach/speak to a variety of stakeholders. 

Bringing issues around behavioral health to the public to create awareness can help illuminate the need for a systems change. Awareness can bring about positive change, and help educate our city around what behavioral health looks like. Every human has behavioral health, so knowledge around the perception of behavioral health issues as well as how to eliminate the risks of them is important for the community as we work towards a healthier city. 

What we are doing about it?

The ability to make determinations on which goals and objectives it wants to set; to vet issues of local relevance which apply to the goals; and to guide itself on which issues it would like to address and methods it would like to undertake in addressing them. We are non-partisan and comprised of individuals from different spheres of behavioral health and not solely from Cleveland. The committee is small enough that it can move fairly quickly when it comes to identifying topics of importance, and it can contribute to filling in ‘gaps’ in the field which larger entities might consider not significant enough to devote resources to. An example of this would be the public information campaign to raise awareness about K2/Spice. Having the forum of a webpage on the HC20 website is important as well because it gives us opportunities to present a lot of information to a wide swath of public. I think our format allows for creativity and whereas the budget doesn’t really exist to financially support our ideas it forces us to be creative and to try as much as possible to leverage the assets of our partners.

In the Community

The Behavioral Health committee is not the only group in Cleveland working on these issues, check out these other great examples:

The Project DAWN Clinic:  A program that provides education around opioid overdose as well ad an naloxone distribution program.

The Opiate Task Force: Working to serve Cuyahoga County around public awareness, education, and community action around the risks and effects of drug abuse. 

Our Subcommittee

As a committee, Behavioral Health has continued to implement the Building Stigma Awareness Campaign to help stop the stigma of mental illness city wide, which included over 16 participants from the city, including two sharing their story on video. K2/spice , also known as synthetic marijuana is an emerging behavioral health issues within our city, which is why the committee has decided to create a public awareness campaign around it.They have received grant funding around the K2/Spice Awareness Campaign to educate the public about the potentially deadly consequences of using the drug.

What's next?

In early 2017, the K2/Spice Awareness campaign will be publicly launched. The committee will continue with the Building Stigma Awareness Campaign, as well as monitor emerging behavioral health related concerns within Cleveland. 

Current Landscape

Cleveland has a high rate of chronic diseases that are related to tobacco use and poor air quality, like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancers. Improving air quality and reducing tobacco use would improve the health and quality of life of many Clevelanders.

Tobacco companies have unfairly targeted lower income and minority communities with heavy marketing, and especially target youth. Clevelanders smoke at rates significantly higher than adults and youth in the rest of Cuyahoga County, the state of Ohio, and the nation. That means that Clevelanders are also at higher risk for chronic diseases, like congestive heart failure and cancers.

Industrial pollution, car pollution, and tobacco smoke also contribute to poor air quality which can trigger asthma in adults and children. It is important to reduce exposure to these toxic chemicals to protect the health of Clevelanders.

Currently, the national average for smoking in the United States is about 19.6% of the population. Within the city of Cleveland, the rate of smoking is 36% of adults. The city's youth are also partaking in tobacco use. About 5.5% of of middle school students smoke cigarettes, and 17.6% smoke cigars or cigarillos. High school students have increased rates, with 8.6% smoking cigarettes and 19.5% smoking cigars or cigarillos. 


Why does it matter

Understanding why we have high smoking rates and poor air quality allows the Breathe Free Committee to serve the mission of Healthy Cleveland, and to think about how to "...leverage policies, partnerships, and programs within our community that enhance quality of life and reduce inequity." We can reduce smoking rates and improve air quality by recommending policies to City Council, by partnering creatively, and by establishing programs that support the policy and environmental changes that improve health.

To address tobacco use and improve air quality, organizations from around Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and the state of Ohio will need to work together. There is no silver bullet solution, nor one individual or organization who can make impactful change alone. By leveraging the collective resources of the committee members, we can learn from one another, combine our resources, and make a bigger impact on the health of Clevelanders.


What we are doing about it?

Per Healthy Cleveland's mission, the Breathe Free Committee has explored identified policies, system changes, and environmental changes that will reduce access to tobacco, support individuals who want to quit using tobacco, and improve air quality. As a Committee, we have supported legislation to increase the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21 years. Our collective expertise was drawn upon by the Health & Human Services Committee of Cleveland City Council to explain the rationale and potential benefits to Cleveland's youth by adopting such legislation. We hope to continue to provide such expertise to the City of Cleveland to improve the health and quality of life of Cleveland residents.


In the Community

Across Cleveland community partners have been doing their part to address the alarming rate of tobacco use in our city. Some of the highlights we are excited about include:

American Heart Association's Tobacco Free Campus Policy Campaign is working to inspire campuses to eliminate tobacco use from their grounds completely.

Cuyahoga Community College adopted a smoke free campus policy in 2016, prohibiting the use of tobacco products on all of Tri-C campuses. 

The Cleveland Office of Minority Health presented tobacco information and cessation support to a group of residents at Carnegie Towers (a 160 unite property owned by National Church Residences) throughout the summer and fall of 2016. The local office helped them celebrate their Smoke-Free Kick off on November 1, 2016. Staff was able to provide residents with quit kits. Staff will be working with the agency to raise awareness about chronic health issues and will help partner them with local organizations to help address their health concerns. 

University Hospital's Seidman Cancer Institute Cancer 101 Classes, educating on the link between tobacco use and cancer risks!

Our Subcommittee

The Breathe Free Committee is excited to share their accomplishments in 2016-including:

Passage of Tobacco 21 Legislation

Acceptance into the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge

Reaching around 350 individuals through two tobacco awareness days 

Cleveland has been accepted to the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge with the #BreatheFreeCLE campaign- a comprehensive tobacco reduction strategy for the city.

What's next?

In 2017 the committee will be focused in on the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge, working to reduce tobacco rates city wide as the challenge progresses!

Current Landscape 

Right now in Cleveland, 66% of adult residents are functionally illiterate. In some neighborhoods, these rates are as high as 95%, meaning that these individuals have reading, language, or math skills that are below a 4th grade level. This makes things such as following a bus schedule, balancing a checkbook, or understanding instructions from the doctor difficult. Nationwide, 20% of all adults read at or below the 5th grade level, yet most health information is written at the 10th grade level or above. When looking at poverty rates, twice as many people without a high school diploma are in poverty than those with a diploma. 

Health literacy is the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate decisions about health. As the health care system grows more complex, it becomes difficult for an individual to make sense of the right thing to do to stay healthy. National data indicate that up to 80% of medical information is forgotten by patients, and about half of the information they do remember is incorrect. Low health literacy levels are linked to poor health outcomes and lower usage rates of preventive services.

Even those with high literacy levels have difficulty understanding and acting on health information. Persons with limited health literacy skills have higher utilization of treatment services including hospitalization and emergency services. They incur medical expenses that are up to four times greater than patients with adequate health literacy skills.

Why does it matter

In order to be effective, Healthy Cleveland needs to communicate to residents with methods that are approachable and not intimidating. Residents should be able to connect to the health information they receive. Armed with information that makes sense to them, they are empowered to make positive choices for their health. We could see lower rates of hospitalizations and use of emergency services and improved health outcomes in the long run.

The skills of individuals are an important part of health literacy, but health literacy is not only about individuals’ capacity to grasp health information. Health systems and professionals impact health literacy by making health information and services understandable and actionable.

What we are doing about it?

The committee seeks to understand the scope of the problem and can advise and make recommendations to the Healthy Cleveland Initiative and CDPH. We encourage the adoption and application of health literate principles and approaches to clear communications with residents. To that end, we planned for the rollout of health literacy training for HCI and CDPH staff. We are also reviewing a more intensive training program that we plan to offer to community health workers who focus on maternal and child health in order to help address the infant mortality crisis.

In the Community:

We'd like to highlight some of our community partners whose work aligns with out mission.

Seeds of Literacy:  An innovative, award winning adult literacy program in Cleveland,where 66% of residents are considered functionally illiterate. Seeds students work individually with tutors on improving their literacy skills. Good literacy levels lead to good health: adults with low literacy experience more medication errors, longer hospital stays, healthcare costs that are four times higher, and increased mortality rates. Seeds of Literacy is working to provide free basic education to Cleveland area adults in order to help alleviate illiteracy as a root cause of poverty.

Carmella Rose Health Foundation: provides community wrap-around navigational services to the underserved in the greater Cleveland area. Helping them connect the dots along their healthcare journey. Assisting them to overcome the various barriers to health and wellness by ensuring that they are enrolled in Medicaid and various other social services programs that can address their social determinates of health.They are working to help people understand how to engage in publicly funded health care programs. 

Health Literacy Institute at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center:  is made up of a team of Caregivers who are steadfastly dedicated to improving health through better communication. The Institute has been providing health literacy training to healthcare providers, organizations, state associations, and the community since its inception in 2007. In addition, the team is responsible for revising all patient-forward communication to an average 6th grade reading level.

Our Specific Subcommittee

The committee itself has spent 2016 continuing the promotion of their health insurance resource guide to help the public navigate the topic of insurance. They have also  recommended health literacy training for all committee co-chairs to encourage best practices for communicating with the community

What's next?

In 2017 the committee will work on providing health literacy training to front line staff at places such as MomsFirst and the Carmella Rose Health Foundation. They are also working on developing a health literacy webinar, and plan to work with the Cleveland Department of Public Health to infuse health literacy principles across the department. As 2017 progresses they will continue to promote and expand training in health literacy. 

Current Landscape

More than one third of Cleveland adults are considered obese. Within the city of Cleveland, there are several key reasons that a focus on healthy eating matters. Eating healthy means being aware of why proper nutrition is so important. Education about what foods are nutritious and awareness about what the impacts of a proper diet are. Access to healthy eating resources are also key as we examine where food deserts are within Cleveland and what transportation issues may prevent our residents from accessing food. There is also to issues of the ability to afford food. Many Cleveland residents are working for minimum wage or at multiple jobs, which may force them to chose between purchasing nutritious foods and paying for housing, medication, or other expenses. 

One out of every four Cleveland residents live in areas that do not have access to healthy food options. Half of all Cleveland residents lack access, with half of that number being people of color. Having access to healthy, fresh food can improve the local economy within the city, as well as increase public health city wide. 

Why does it matter

Addressing some of the key issues that impact healthy eating within Cleveland can help change long term health outcomes for the city's residents. Issues surrounding being overweight or obese and the diseases and complications that can be caused by that lead to millions of dollars being spent every year on healthcare. Getting people excited and educated about healthy eating can lead to a more prosperous work force, stronger economy, and lead to a healthier Cleveland. 


What we are doing about it?

The Healthy Eating Committee is focused on educating the community and raising awareness about the benefits of healthy eating. We hope to connect residents to resources to find fresh and healthy food. They also hope to work at advocating for changes in policy based on their knowledge and resources that would have a positive impact on low income communities and their ability to access the food they need. 

In the Community

Some case examples of things within our Cleveland community that the Healthy Eating Committee have been involved with are:

Perfectly Imperfect Produce: A program started by the Forest City Weingart Product Co. that sells fresh fruits and vegetables that are not "perfect" in terms of looks, but still taste great! The produce is sold at affordable prices to help decrease food waste and help increase access to healthy food choices for Clevelanders. 

Cleveland Roots: A local nonprofit empowering people to engage themselves in the local food movement though the use of urban agriculture as well as education. 

Healthy Food Retail Initiative:  This is a grassroots approach to getting access to healthy food for all, especially those who may live in areas where there are not supermarkets. Through generous funding through the REACH grant and partnerships within the HIP-Cuyahoga initiative, this endeavor is working to put healthy foods in convenience and corner stores of under-served neighborhoods. 

Our Specific Subcommittee

The Healthy Eating Committee has been working on the Water First for Thirst campaign, encouraging people to drink water over other sugar sweetened beverages. They have also been working in partnership with Whole Vision LLC on creating a School Garden Toolkit to create a way to bring gardening into schools by integrating it into all grade level's curriculum. The committee has also had a lot of success as serving as the connector between healthy eating resources throughout the city

What's next?

In 2017, the committee plans to collaborate with the Active Living Committee to create a healthy eating resource guide or app for the public to have access to. The School Gardens Toolkit will be able to be tested within a few different gardens in the coming year as well. As 2017 progresses, the Healthy Eating Committee plans to formalize a policy agenda around water access for Cleveland. 

Current Landscape

Health is more than just healthcare-it is impacted by social, economic, and environmental conditions. Although some of Cleveland's neighborhoods are thriving in these respects, others are not. The discrepancies in health outcomes between neighborhoods indicates the other underlying issues that affect residents at the societal level. There is not one reason for these different health outcomes, so we must look deeper into the issues that are affecting our society at large. Things such as institutional racism, income disparity, access to healthcare, access to a quality education, and personal safety all affect the residents of our neighborhoods. . 

Why does it matter

Being able to learn more about health means being able to understand the connection between one's health and where they live, work, and play. Because of this, there must be a spot at the table for discussions about place and place-making and how they affect health. The problem of health disparities among Cleveland neighborhoods is key to this committee's work in order to ensure that communities are not forgotten as we strive towards a healthy Cleveland. 

What we are doing about it?

The Healthy Neighborhoods Committee is setting the stage for dialogue around health that allows for a focus on social determinants of health and how they impact Cleveland neighborhoods. This involves concrete and actionable steps pertaining to messaging about those social determinants. The committee will then be able to engage with and capture the voice of residents in developing a formal approach to integrating health and equity into place making at the neighborhood level.

In the Community

There are so many great initiatives going on that improve conditions in Cleveland neighborhoods - you can read about some of them throughout the rest of this report. One of the ways that we can be empowered to make a difference in our neighborhoods is by learning more about them and the conditions that exist which impact the health of our citizens.

Check out the Center for Community Solutions Neighborhood Profiles to learn more about your neighborhood or any of Cleveland's 34 neighborhoods. These profiles include information on things such as employment, income, poverty, demographics, housing, and teen birth rates. Who knows- it might inspire you to do something to create a positive change in your neighborhood!

Our Specific Subcommittee

In 2016, the Healthy Neighborhoods Committee was proud to produce and release Healthy Cleveland's 1st animated short. This engaging and to the point short film explores the way that social determinants can impact health outcomes of our citizens. By using the catch phrase 'Do you SEE what I SEE?' - the film looks at how Social, Economic and Environmental conditions can lead to healthy or unhealthy lives and begins to peak the interest of viewers on what role we as society play in creating those conditions. We encourage our partners to utilize this video in a variety of settings to begin creating a common understanding of social determinants of health and begin working side by side with our community members to identify solutions to these complex conditions that prove to influence the quality of life in our community.


What's next?

In 2017, the Healthy Neighborhoods Subcommittee intends to move forward in its focus on creating thoughtful messaging related to how conditions in neighborhoods impact health. This year our focus will be on the subject of Infant Mortality which often receives a lot of clinical intervention and attention, but less connection to how social determinants play a role in the birth outcomes of our citizens, especially among the black community in Cleveland. We will begin developing a strategic messaging campaign that seeks to point out the social, economic and environmental conditions that can affect the premature birth outcomes in Cleveland. Following the development of key messages (from the voice of pregnant moms as opposed to aiming to the pregnant moms), we plan to develop our second animated short, specific to the issue of infant mortality. This short film will be utilized in a community engagement strategy that works with our citizens in neighborhoods with high rates of infant mortality to begin focusing on identifying solutions to those factors that create unhealthy birth outcomes. We look forward to sharing more about this important work as our project develops.

Current Landscape

In 2016, Cleveland had 136 homicides, making it the city’s deadliest year in the past decade. This number was a 13% rise compared to 2015 statistics. Deaths due to violence have been on steadily increasing annually since 2013. Within Cuyahoga County there were 168 homicides due to gunshot wounds this past year.This number hundreds more than the neighboring counties such as Lorain, Lake, and Medina who had 18, 5, and 2 respectively. The issue of violence is not just in Cleveland, but nationwide. In 2015 alone, there was an 11% increase in the number of homicides with Cleveland being one of seven cities that contributed to around 50% of that increase. 

Why does it matter?

It is very important for us to examine why we are seeing the increase in violence that is taking place in our communities as well as exploring different ways it can be addressed. We are examining how the public health model can be used to address the violence that is taking place in our most distressed communities in the city of Cleveland. We spend time examining the impact that the neighborhood and community environment has on the individuals who resides in these communities especially youth and young adults. Many of them are subjected to increase exposure to violence, which can make them become either future victims or perpetrators. The committee is also dedicated to doing research on these major issues along with looking at what resources are needed in order to improve the overall social condition in these distressed communities. If we can improve the social condition, the public will notice a decrease in violence in these communities.


What we are doing about it?

The violence prevention committee is taking a research based approach to explore the issue of violence as a public health issue. We see our role in providing research and technical assistance in best practice, as well as using this platform to inform the public and collect data relevant to the health impact of violence in our community. This happens through community partnerships and collaboration with our fellow colleagues and experts in the field.


In the Community

The Violence Prevention Committee has been integrated within the community through things such as:

Councilman Reed's Summit Series on Violence Prevention: reaching over 130 individuals attended the series as discussions around violence within Cleveland were discussed by speakers, panelists, and students.

Cleveland Peacemaker Alliance A coalition of agencies working to help end street violence in Cleveland as part of an anti-crime initiative that employs outreach workers to help improve safety for the city’s children and families

Partnership for a Safer Cleveland and Impact 25 A group working to lessen violence in Cleveland by serving as both resources and consultants in the area, and bringing together those who are working towards making safer neighborhoods and putting an end to youth violence.

Our Specific Subcommittee

The committee has spent the last year helping to get council money dedicated to violence prevention work within University Hospital Emergency Rooms in Cleveland. Violence Interrupters within the emergency rooms will help council victims of gun violence and work to stop retaliation from occurring. These individuals will help those involved remain calm, and connect them with resources that can help prevent incidents from reoccurring. 

They having aligned with IMPACT 25 in terms of mission and goals as they work to create neighborhood based violence prevention programs geared towards building positive relationships young adults and partner organizations.

What's next?

With the recent appointment of Duane Deskins as the Chief of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults within the Mayor's Cabinet, the committee looks forward to working together to strive towards a decrease of violence city wide. The committee is excited to see what can be accomplished in the coming year by collaborating with Chief Deskins to create a safer city and help prevent future instances of violence. The committee plans to continue their work on engaging the community and implementing strategies proven to be effective in regards to violence prevention city-wide.

We cannot wait to see what great things 2017 has in store! 

Stay Healthy, Cleveland!