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Allston-Brighton Healthy Neighborhood Initiative

Health Neighborhood Initiative logoBeth Israel Deaconess Medical Center granted ABHC’s Network $395,000 to plan and implement a Healthy Neighborhood Initiative from 2024 through 2025. 

This summer, ABHC led an inclusive, community driven process to identify our community’s top health priorities and concerns. The Healthy Neighborhood Initiative Planning Committee includes 10 community members who speak six languages, live and work in the neighborhood, and range from 16 to 73 years old.

We collected feedback from hundreds of people through surveys, at community parties and events, at the bus stop and the gym. The committee met weekly to discuss our findings and design initiative ideas based on neighborhood feedback.

The Committee has finalized four initiative ideas for you to vote on. The voting outcomes will inform the committee’s final decision:

1. Increase mental health services
Fund school-based mental health services and referrals, clinician-led community groups, and community-based mental health screenings.

2. Community leadership building and resource connection
Train and pay community members to work as resource navigators and connectors. The group will train in community organizing, attend and host resource fairs and community events, and will bridge the gap between people looking for things and things that already exist. They will also fund small community programs including community fridges and clean-up events. 

3. Education courses for improved access to care, employment
Fund adult education and arts programs in the neighborhood so that they can enroll more people, offer programs for free: ESL, digital literacy, new baby safety, arts courses.

4. Increase Sidewalk shade and comfort
Install shade features and benches at key bus stops around the neighborhood, and plant more trees in high heat areas.

Which is your favorite idea?

How To Vote Using Rank Choice Voting:

  1. On your ballot, rank the idea that you like the most (1st), followed by the ideas you like 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.
  2. The Committee will count all the 1st place votes. If an idea wins a majority of top votes in that round, then that is the top choice.
  3. If no ideas win a majority of top votes in the first round, then the idea with the fewest number of 1st place votes is eliminated. All of those 2nd place votes get added in to the top choice. A new round of counting takes place to determine whether an idea has won a majority. This process is repeated until an idea wins a majority of votes.

Voting closes on Thursday, September 7 at 6pm.

Background Information:

The initiative must address one or more of these six health priorities that Allston Brighton community members have identified as important:

  • Access to Care (mental health care, pediatricians and more) 
  • Built Environment (homes, buildings, streets, open spaces and more)
  • Environmental Health (air quality, high heat, healthy soils and more)
  • Racial Equity (equitable access, safety and belonging)
  • Social Determinants of Health (education, food access, job opportunities, youth services and more)
  • Violence Prevention (crashes, elder abuse, domestic violence and more)

Between June and October, 2023, the Committee will:

  1. Reviewing existing neighborhood data to understand neighborhood health priorities 
  2. Present data and priorities to the ABHC Network and larger neighborhood for feedback: what did we miss, does this reflect people’s experience. 
  3. Learn from and connect with residents at dozens of community events, in conversation, through photovoice and survey mapping tools, and more.
  4. Finalize the neighborhood priority and goals based on these findings and existing data.
  5. Identify and design the project that will address the priority. This may mean designing a new project or identifying an existing project in the community that we want to support and expand.

Health Priorities identified by the MA Office of the Attorney General

Priority AreaDescription
Access to CareAccess to comprehensive, quality health-related services is important for promoting and maintaining health, preventing and managing disease, reducing unnecessary disability and premature death, and achieving health equity for all Americans.1
Built EnvironmentThe built environment includes all of the physical parts of where we live and work (e.g., homes, buildings, streets, open spaces, and infrastructure). The built environment influences a person’s level of physical activity. For example, inaccessible or nonexistent sidewalks and bicycle or walking paths contribute to sedentary habits. These habits lead to poor health outcomes such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.2
Environmental HealthEnvironmental health focuses on the relationships between people and their environment; promotes human health and well-being; and fosters healthy and safe communities. The field works to advance policies and programs to reduce chemical and other environmental exposures in air, water, soil and food to protect people and provide communities with healthier environments.3
Racial EquityRacial equity occurs when institutions give equal opportunities to people of all races. In other words, regardless of physical traits such as skin color, institutions give individuals legal, moral, and political equality. Applying a health and racial equity lens means dismantling systems of oppression and working towards the systemic fair and just treatment of people of all races, ethnicities, and communities so that all people are able to achieve their full health and overall potential.
Violence PreventionViolence is defined as the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, and deprivation.4 From infants to the elderly, violence affects people in all stages of life and includes intimate partner violence, elder abuse, youth violence, sexual violence, gang violence, and many other forms of violence.5
Other Social Determinants of HealthSocial determinants of health (SDOH) are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. SDOH have a major impact on people’s health, well-being, and quality of life. Examples of SDOH include availability of resources to meet daily needs (e.g., safe housing, local food markets), access to quality education, access to economic and job opportunities, availability of resources that support physical activity, transportation options, socioeconomic conditions (e.g., poverty and the stress that accompanies it), residential segregation, language/literacy, public safety, access to media and technology (e.g., internet, cell phones), and culture.6