Conference Seeks Strategies for Building Authentic, Trusting Community Relationships
Mahoning and Trumbull counties continue to rank among the lowest in Ohio for health outcomes and health factors. Now, a collection of local foundations is continuing their efforts to reverse this trend by identifying and nurturing common ground among stakeholders throughout the Mahoning Valley.
The Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, along with the William Swanston Charitable Fund, the Western Reserve Health Foundation and the Trumbull Memorial Health Foundation, has scheduled “Innovations Conference 2019: Common Ground” next month. The Conference will bring together residents, nonprofits and businesses, as well as government and other community leaders to explore how to find common ground and ultimately work together, despite often using different terminologies and systems—all in the drive to address health inequities and achieve a common goal of a healthier Mahoning Valley.
The keynote speaker for the conference, scheduled for Thursday, March 14 at the Jewish Community Center, 505 Gypsy Lane, Youngstown, is Karen Washington, farmer, activist and co-owner of Rise & Root Farm, as well as co-founder of Black Urban Growers. In 2012, Ebony magazine voted Karen one of its 100 most influential African Americans in the U.S., and in 2014, she was the recipient of the James Beard Leadership Award. Karen will speak on “How Does Food Justice Show Up in Your Work and in Your Community?”
It is often said that food is the common denominator that brings people together. Yet, according to Karen, food can either improve health outcomes or cause health problems—especially in marginalized communities. In her address, Karen will raise questions regarding whether our current food system is indeed broken, and if so, how we can work together to fix it.
“The 2018 Conference brought our community together to discover strategies for effectively collaborating—and to build the essential skills and tools to help us improve health for all residents,” said Shari Harrell, Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley president. “Yet, collaboration can only be achieved if community partners are truly connected to one another and have authentic relationships that engender real trust. As a continuation of this effort, our 2019 Conference will focus on finding common ground—it will explore why this matters, how trusting and productive relationships can be forged and nurtured over time, and what the collective impacts will be in terms of addressing systemic health issues throughout our region.”
This year’s conference will enable attendees to customize their experience by selecting from various sessions to attend throughout the day. Featured topics include the connection between policy and health; how crime impacts neighborhood health; and strategies for leveraging public investment to improve health.
The daylong event, which begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 2:00 p.m., requires advance registration, which is open through March 7 and can be completed online at www.cfmv.org/innovations (preferred), or by calling the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley at (330) 743-5555. Continental breakfast and lunch are provided to all attendees, and everyone is invited and encouraged to attend. The registration fee is $20.00 per person.
All Conference attendees will be encouraged to join the Healthy Community Partnership – Mahoning Valley and leverage learnings from the Conference in ways that improve health for all residents of the Mahoning Valley. Action teams have been formed within the Partnership that align with priorities identified by community residents; attendees will be invited to interact with various teams during concurrent Conference sessions to learn more about their work, as well as join teams of their choosing following the Conference.
Innovations Conference 2019: Common Ground is presented in conjunction with the Healthy Community Partnership. Support is also being provided by The Centofanti Center for Health and Welfare of Vulnerable Populations.
A list of program topics can be found at this link: www.cfmv.org/innovations.
County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recently ranked Mahoning County 72nd out of 88 counties in Ohio for health outcomes that include length of life and quality of life. Trumbull County ranks 59th.
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: “Innovations Conference 2019: Common Ground” is a daylong conference designed to bring together residents, nonprofits and businesses, as well as government and other community leaders to explore how to work together, despite often having different terminologies and systems, to address health inequities and achieve a common goal of a healthier Mahoning Valley.
WHEN: Thursday, March 14, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
WHERE: Jewish Community Center, 505 Gypsy Lane, Youngstown
WHY: Collaborating to build a healthier Mahoning Valley can only be achieved if community partners are truly connected to one another and have authentic relationships that engender real trust. The 2019 Conference will focus on finding common ground—why this matters, how trusting and productive relationships can be forged and nurtured over time, and what the collective impacts will be in terms of addressing systemic health issues throughout our region.
REGISTRATION INFORMATION: Registration is open through March 7, and everyone is invited and encouraged to attend. To register, visit www.cfmv.org/innovations (preferred); or, you can register by phone at 330-743-5555. Continental breakfast and lunch are provided to all attendees. The registration fee is $20.00 per person.