In Youngstown: 201 E Commerce St., Suite 150 - Youngstown, OH 44503 • P: 330.743.5555 • F: 330.743.1802
In Warren: 147 W. Market St. - Warren, OH 44481 • P: 330.469.6832 • F: 330.394.5601

Innovations 2019

Session Descriptions


» 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 we are finding that food can either improve health outcomes or cause health problems especially in marginalizes communities. How can we work together to fix a food system that is broken? Or is it?
Presenter: Karen Washington, Farmer and Activist, Co-Owner of Rise & Root Farm and Co-Founder of Black Urban Growers

Since 1985 Karen Washington has been a community activist, striving to make the New York City a better place to live. As a community gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens, she worked with Bronx neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens.

As an advocate, and former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, she stood up and spoke out for garden protection and preservation. As a member of the La Familia Verde Garden Coalition, she helped launched a City Farms Market, bringing fresh vegetables to the community. Karen is a Why Hunger board member, a Just Food board member and Just Food Trainer, leading workshops on growing food and food justice across the country. In 2010, Co- Founded Black Urban Growers (BUGS) an organization supporting growers in both urban and rural settings. In 2012, Ebony magazine voted her one of their 100 most influential African Americans in the country and in 2014 was the recipient of the James Beard Leadership Award.

Since retiring from Physical Therapy in 2014, Karen is Co-owner/Farmer at Rise & Root Farm.


» Leveraging Public Investments for Improved Public Health
The Mahoning Valley has received major multi-million dollar public investments for significant improvements to our community. While they might appear to be exclusively infrastructure enhancements or removal of blight in a neighborhood, these investments do much more for public health. In this session, local funding recipients will explore how investments help improve the health of local residents and create a healthier, walkable, safer Mahoning Valley.
Presenters: Jim Kinnick, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments; Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, City of Youngstown; Debora Flora, Mahoning County Land Bank; and Shawn Carvin, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership/Trumbull County Lank Bank

» Health in Action: Building a Culture of Community Health
An individual’s health is largely influenced by the choices they make, and the ability to make healthy choices depends greatly on where they live. Unfortunately, many neighborhoods have been excluded from investment, leaving residents with limited opportunities to make healthy choices. In this session, we will examine the importance of universal access to health, wealth and opportunity – regardless of location – and how communities can invest in strategies and practices that address social determinants and move from a lens of ‘community development’ to one of ‘community health’.
Presenter: Heather McMahon, Old Brooklyn CDC

» Improving Health Through Safer Neighborhoods
Most know that increasing physical activity will improve their health. However, for those that live in areas where residents don’t feel safe walking to the park or letting children ride bicycles to school, it is even more difficult incorporating physical activity into daily life. Join us for a discussion with local individuals working to make safer neighborhoods where people can enjoy their community and have better health.
Presenters: Pastor Todd Johnson, Second Baptist Church, Warren, OH; Captain Jason Simon, Youngstown Police Department, Police Coordinator for Community Based Crime Reduction Grant (CBCR) and Kim Mascarella, Howland Township Planning Director
Moderator: Chris Thompson, Civic Collaboration Consultants


» Overcoming Barriers to Health Equity with Smart Policy Solutions
Public policies, even ones not typically associated with health, can impact our health and well-being. They can create opportunities, but also barriers, for people to be healthy and unfortunately can also have unfair and avoidable negative impacts on some more than others. Join Amanda Woodrum from Policy Matters Ohio to explore how smart policy solutions, especially in relation to issues of poverty and race, can work to ensure everyone has equitable opportunities for good health.
Presenter: Amanda Woodrum, Policy Matters Ohio

» Outside The Hospital Walls: How Healthcare Systems Are Moving Their Work into The Neighborhood
Hospitals and health centers provide essential medical care in communities. However, they are recognizing there are many health issues that can’t be managed within the walls of a clinic and that societal conditions significantly affect the health outcomes of their patient populations. Join Mercy Health to learn more about how they are addressing the social determinants of health with a variety of health initiatives they lead in the community, from farmer’s markets to free exercise classes in low-income neighborhoods. In addition, Nationwide Children’s Hospital will highlight their Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families initiative and how their investments in housing, workforce development and improved neighborhoods are resulting in better patient and community health outcomes.
Presenters: Ellen Ford, Mercy Health and Nicholas Jones, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

» Defining Our Future Today: Community Leaders Creating Change
The healthy outcomes of the Mahoning Valley continue to rank among the lowest in Ohio. Better planning and strategy can improve our health, but the policy and system changes that are needed often take time and occur gradually. Despite this slow movement, individuals and neighborhoods have the power to mobilize and influence more immediate change. Meet two local community organizers that are leading movements to improve conditions now and bring about meaningful change for residents in oppressed communities.
Presenters: Miles Jay, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership and Dionne Dowdy, United Returning Citizens/Taft Promise Neighborhood


» Food for a Week: Peeling Back the Layers of Food Insecurity
According to the Food Research Action Center’s August 2018 report, the Youngstown-Warren area is the second most food insecure community in the country with 22% of households struggling to buy enough food—that number increases to 34.8% for households with children. Join the Healthy Community Partnership Healthy Food Retail Action Team for a simulation where participants will get a glimpse at what tough decisions a person living in food insecurity, or “very low food security,” has to make on a daily basis. With only $60 to spend, participants will need to work together to navigate complex systems to feed their families for a week. The goal of the simulation is to provide an interactive, educational opportunity that explores issues of food access, availability, and affordability. The simulation will be an opportunity to begin meaningful conversations about food access, availability, and affordability and how we can work together to remove barriers that make it difficult for residents to access healthy, affordable food for themselves and their families.

» Creating Safe Routes to Everywhere
Walking and biking for transportation provide significant physical and mental health benefits. Just 30 minutes of walking or biking can reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and has demonstrated positive effects on mental health. But, communities need to make sure our sidewalks and streets are safe for walkers and bikers throughout their daily routines. Join the Healthy Community Partnership Active Transportation Team for an activity to highlight the health benefits of active transportation, while also drawing attention to the necessary improvements and investments required to ensure the safety of everyone no matter how they’re travelling or where they’re going. The activity will introduce participants to concepts and strategies for traffic calming and increasing pedestrian safety with interactive opportunities for analysis, planning, and potential implementation of low-cost, effective strategies to make streets and sidewalks safer. *A part of the activity will be outdoors, so please dress accordingly!*

» Creating Inviting, Exciting Parks and Green Spaces in Our Neighborhoods
Every neighborhood deserves to have a safe, accessible, welcoming, well-maintained park or greenspace. The National Recreation and Park Association, The Trust for Public Land, and the Urban Land Institute are leading a nationwide movement to ensure there’s a great park within a 10-minute walk of every person, in every neighborhood, in every city across America. The Healthy Community Partnership Parks and Green Spaces Team agrees and wants to make sure that residents living in neighborhoods in the Mahoning Valley have a park or green space within a 10-minute walk. To help us get there, this session will engage participants in one of two activities that will challenge us to imagine what the Valley would look like with vibrant parks and green spaces in every neighborhood—and how to make sure they stay as safe and beautiful on day 1000 as they were on day 1.

Option 1— Greening Strategies (Indoors)
Healthy Community Partnership Parks and Green Spaces Team members will walk participants through maps that will act as blank canvasses showing where strategic opportunities exist for new green space projects. Team members will provide participants with a palate of options for what could happen in different locations based on variables like size, environment, cost, community partners, etc.

Option 2—Safe Routes to Parks & Green Spaces (Outdoors) *Wear your walking shoes!*
Healthy Community Partnership Parks and Green Spaces Team members will lead participants on a walk to Crandall Park (13 min) and conduct an assessment of the safety and condition of the route to the park and the park itself. Attention will be paid to the condition of the built environment (ex: sidewalks, signage), natural environment (ex: trees, ponds), park amenities (ex: playgrounds, restrooms), safety (ex: lighting), and opportunities for activities/programs.