Pitt Public Health in practice

Countywide Project Helps Communities to Flourish

In a pair of recent publications, Drs. Dara Méndez, Tiffany Gary-Webb, and colleagues describe progress being made to improve health equity and outcomes related to chronic conditions that disproportionately affect people of color, those with lower socioeconomic status and other historically excluded individuals in Allegheny County.

Since 2018, the school, Allegheny County Health Department and a network of partner groups in six African American communities have implemented strategies to broaden access to healthy foods and breastfeeding support, as well as formulate plans for community design to facilitate physical activity and strengthen community linkages to clinical care as part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) initiative. Nearly $4.8 million in REACH funding has supported these local efforts in a project called Live Well Allegheny: Lifting Wellness for African Americans (LWA2) over the past four years.

In the online September and October editions, respectively, of Progress in Community Health Partnerships and Community Health Equity Research & Policy, the team demonstrated the effectiveness of antiracism training and capacity building to advance individuals’ understanding of deep-seated racial health inequities in the county and the significant importance of working with Black-led community partners.

Coauthors include Andrea Casas, MPH, and Stephanie Christian, MPH, both of the School of Public Health; and Josh Feldmiller, MPH, Hannah Hardy, MPA, Roderick Harris, DrPH, Samantha Scott, MPH, and Aja Wilkerson, all of the Allegheny County Health Department.

-Michele Dula Baum