Invest Health is a new initiative that brings together diverse leaders from mid-sized U.S. cities across the nation to develop new strategies for increasing and leveraging private and public investments to accelerate improvements in neighborhoods facing the biggest barriers to better health. A collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Reinvestment Fund (RF), this initiative is aimed at transforming how local leaders work together to help low-income communities thrive, with specific attention to community features that drive health such as access to safe and affordable housing, places to play and exercise, nutritious food, quality jobs as well as reducing crime rates and environmental hazards. Cities with populations between 50,000 and 400,000 were asked to form five-member teams including representatives from the public sector, community development, and an anchor institution, preferably academic or health-related.
In May 2016, Syracuse was one of 50 mid-size cities selected from more than 170 communities that applied for the initiative. The Syracuse Invest Health team comprises of representatives from the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc.; the City of Syracuse Department of Neighborhood and Business Development; the anchor institution, Upstate Medical University’s Center for Civic Engagement; the Onondaga County Health Department’s Bureau of Health Promotion & Disease Prevention; and Cooperative Federal, a certified Community Development credit union. The team will focus on strategies to improve access to healthy food options within downtown Syracuse, with an emphasis on the built environment and transit-oriented development.
For more information on this collaborative initiative, visit their site or contact one of the members of the Syracuse Invest Health Team.