204853 “Let waters of justice roll”: Connecting neighbors and organizations in public spaces to address health inequalities

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lourdes J. Hernández-Cordero, DrPH , Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY
Nancy Bruning, MPH , Friends of Fort Tryon Park, New York City, NY
Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD , New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY

Northern Manhattan has more than 500 acres of public parkland and the High Bridge, part of the historic Old Croton Aqueduct. While some parks are well-utilized, the High Bridge site is underutilized and the bridge remains closed to the public due to the neighborhoods' history of violence during the 80s and 90s. The positive impact of parks on the mental and physical health of individuals and communities is important in reducing obesity and increasing active living in poor communities. City Life is Moving Bodies (CLIMB) is a community-based initiative founded on the belief that communities, regardless of socioeconomic background, are entitled to access to safe parks and neighborhoods. CLIMB aims to address violence, obesity and sedentary lifestyles through collaborative community engagement. Just as the Old Croton Aqueduct brought clean water to address the historic NYC cholera and fire epidemics, CLIMB seeks to bring “waters of justice” to areas injured by inequalities.


Utilizing community mobilization strategies we engage stakeholders through the “Potluck Method” (each brings a “covered dish”--hike leaders, healthy food, programming, constituents to the process and annual event). This method is useful in poor neighborhoods: it helps stretch resources and changes the power relationship among collaborators.


In five years CLIMB has grown in number of partners, who have: held five annual outreach events; increased the number of activities during the event; increased investment in the park; informed policies about management of public spaces; and improved planning based on a more complete analysis of the space.

Learning Objectives:
1. Design a community mobilization plan using the "Potluck Method" 2. Decribe strategies to maintain a functioning coalition 3. Explain how to establish effective community-university partnerships.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am president of one of the active members of the community-based initiative described in the abstract and contributed to the writing of the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.