As part of our Neighborhood Health initiative, this evening Baltimore City Health Department will hold its first ever community meeting presenting the 2011 Neighborhood Health Profiles. There will be 13 others, one in each council district, which will follow over the course of the next several weeks.
This event marks a distinct change in direction for the health department. It’s a direction that is more neighborhood-focused. They say all politics is local. The same can be said just as loudly for health. Since the release of Healthy Baltimore 2015 in May of 2011, we have been focusing more on the social determinants of health – things such as transportation, housing, employment and education that together influence community health outcomes to a greater degree than direct medical services. The Profiles paint a picture of health that includes the dimensions of our built environment for each of our neighborhoods. While that in and of itself is more than most large cities have done, it is not enough.
All too often public health data sits in the ethosphere with missed opportunities zipping by. These community meetings signify our intent to create a different way of engaging with communities. It’s the beginning of a process by which we more fully collaborate with communities to identify common areas where we can take action.
The health issues facing many parts of our city, at first glance, can appear overwhelming. A closer inspection, as offered by the Profiles, makes clear that a process of prioritizing and directing broad-based coordinated efforts to targeted areas will be a winning strategy for the city as a whole.
Don’t be a spectator – we all need to have some skin in the game if we’re to realize a Baltimore where all residents realize their full health potential.
Check out our schedule of events and take the first step.