Online Program

Creating a culture of community, health and safety at parks

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 9:10 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Paul Simon, MD, MPH, Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Los Angeles, CA
Kelly Fischer, MA, Injury and Violence Prevention Program, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
When people work in tandem to create healthy, safe communities, they can accomplish ambitious goals and have an impact that no organization could achieve through a stand-alone effort. This presentation illustrates how a strong partnership among local groups that oversee parks, safety, and public health can successfully address violence, chronic diseases and inequities at once.

 Parks After Dark transformed parks in low-income neighborhoods into safe, welcoming places where children and adults could be active, build social connections, and access health and social services. Six parks extended their evening hours on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays during the summer months and offered a wide range of activities such as organized sports and exercise programs, arts and crafts, free concerts and movie screenings, and classes on healthy cooking, literacy, juvenile justice, parenting, computer skills and more.

 The parks drew almost 237,000 visitors from 2010 to 2014, and 91 percent of participants surveyed said they felt safe. A 2014 rapid health impact assessment of the Parks After Dark initiative in Los Angeles County demonstrated that it boosted physical activity and decreased serious violent crime in neighborhoods especially affected by violence and chronic diseases, resulting in significant cost savings to the county. Parks After Dark was honored as an Exemplary Large County Practice for Advancing Health Equity in 2014.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe the benefits of collaborating across sectors to prevent violence. Explain how preventing violence promotes health and equity. Discuss opportunities for community-based organizations, parks departments, law enforcement, violence prevention professionals and public health to collaborate.

Keyword(s): Violence & Injury Prevention, Partnerships

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked at the Los Angeles County Dept of Public Health, Injury & Violence Prevention Program for the past 7 years. My work has focused on community violence prevention, including serving as department lead for evaluation and strategic planning of the Parks After Dark initiative. I have published several articles and presented to various audiences on this initiative.
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.