Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Social Determinants of Health and Hunger


The Community Wealth Partners board met yesterday.  The meeting helped me appreciate how they are helping to advance our No Kid Hungry campaign as well as the broader mission of Share Our Strength in ways I’d not been paying enough attention to.  I’m writing so that you can see some of the connections I’ve come to see between their work and ours and the value they create not only for their clients but for our larger mission.  See @ http://communitywealth.com/ 

It was the first meeting for new board member Trenor Williams who is also a generous Share Our Strength donor.  Trenor was a family physician and now a business entrepreneur. He spoke about the company he is building to help physicians gather and use data on the social determinants of health - the conditions people are born into or live in including their socio-economic status, education level, housing, employment -  that affect their health. 

One of Community Wealth Partners clients is NeighborWorks America which creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes.  Their CEO Paul Weech provided a testimonial at the beginning of the meeting about the value that Community Wealth Partners’ consultants provided to their strategic planning and to their grant recipients. He spoke of the connection between housing instability and child poverty, and how frequent family moves due to rent and housing costs exacerbate the stresses of poverty on children.  And as we know housing costs often conflict with a family’s ability to provide nutritious food for their children. 

Just as hunger might be a social determinant of health, housing might be considered a social determinant of hunger. It’s just one of many issues Community Wealth Partners works on that enables us to address aspects of poverty while keeping our financial resources targeted toward advancing our core No Kid Hungry strategies.  As we continue to achieve success enrolling kids in school breakfast and summer meals, and improving public policy via advocacy, we also need to better understand and address the social determinants of hunger. Thanks to our colleagues at Community Wealth Partners for helping us do that.

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