By Michael Haederle

Healthy Neighborhoods Albuquerque cited as national case study

Healthy Neighborhoods Albuquerque, an innovative collaboration led by the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center to spur local economic growth and job development, has been cited as a case study in a new report by the Funder's Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities.

Albuquerque was one of five cities examined in the report, Anchored in Place: How Funders Are Helping Anchor Institutions Strengthen Local Economies (the others were Baltimore, Chicago, the Twin Cities and Denver).

Healthy Neighborhoods Albuquerque brings together local anchor institutions to grow Main Street jobs by hiring and buying locally and supporting business development in underinvested neighborhoods.

UNM HSC took the lead on the project in 2016, hiring a consultant and forming a partnership with Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Albuquerque Public Schools, Central New Mexico Community College, First Choice Community Healthcare and the City of Albuquerque. The Albuquerque Community Foundation also plays a key role as fiscal agent and convening organization for the initiative.

The report includes an interview with Richard S. Larson, MD, PhD, executive vice chancellor at the Health Sciences Center. "We always say that 'wealth makes health,'" Larson is quoted as saying. "About 50 percent of our community's health has nothing to do with how we deliver healthcare, so we have to address socioeconomic factors."

It also highlights a new plan established by the initiative to purchase $40,000 worth of carrots from the Agri-Cultura Network, an agricultural cooperative in Albuquerque's South Valley - the first step in a plan to bolster local agriculture. The first purchase of produce is expected in the next few weeks.

The report also describes how UNM HSC is evaluating its spending practices to determine whether more contracting, subcontracting and construction work can be sourced locally.

The new study was funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, one of the Florida-based Funder's Network 150 member foundations. The network is dedicated to building environmentally sustainable, socially equitable and economically prosperous communities.

Categories: Community Engagement, Health