Tuesday, March 13, 2018

OEDIT launches 2018 Blueprint 2.0 Initiatives

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Applications open March 15 - Rural Colorado communities encouraged to apply

Launched in 2015, Blueprint 2.0, leverages state partnerships and specialized resources to address the economic development goals of rural areas of Colorado. Blueprint 2.0 is a bottom-up effort to turn regional feedback on local economic needs into a statewide set of initiatives to advance the economies of rural communities.

In 2017, 17 communities across the state benefited from Blueprint 2.0 initiatives focused on place-making, branding, co-working, small business support, film production, outdoor recreation and tourism promotion. Past Blueprint 2.0 recipients have received technical assistance developing tourism assets, strategic business growth action plans and even a tiny home master plan. 

The following eight initiatives will be offered in 2018:

Communities interested in a Blueprint 2.0 initiative are encouraged to learn more and apply online at choosecolorado.com/blueprint. Applicants will be asked to demonstrate collaboration, strong local leadership and solid support for the initiative they chose to pursue.

Blueprint 2.0 applications are due on June 1, 2018 and winning communities will be announced in early July.

Questions about the program or application process should be directed to Danielle Lendriet at 303-929-1042 or danielle.lendriet@state.co.us or Meridith Marshall at 303-892-3850 or meridith.marshall@state.co.us.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Commentary: How a School Bus With No Wheels Taught Me to See Past Silos

How a School Bus With No Wheels Taught Me to See Past Silos

How a School Bus With No Wheels Taught Me to See Past Silos

This is another story about Olneyville, the low-income, predominately Latino neighborhood on the west side of Providence, Rhode Island, that I have been studying for some time in connection with a book I am writing about neighborhood well-being. When I first encountered Olneyville, I had thought my book would be about policing. The Providence Police Department has made the shift that I have long endorsed from a conventional, paramilitary style of policing to place-based, community-led problem-solving. I figured I would talk about the transformation there and a few other places, where the shift has been successful. But the more time I spent in Olneyville, talking with the people who live and work there, the more I realized I was looking at things too narrowly.

One story finally brought it home to me. On weekday mornings, a small group of parents starts walking through the streets of Olneyville. They follow a set route on a specified timetable, stopping at designated spots and street corners before finally reaching the William D’Abate Elementary School. Like every poor, urban neighborhood, Olneyville has more than its share of challenges, and the group walks past vacant lots, abandoned buildings, and derelict houses. At every stop, young children scamper out of their homes and climb aboard a bus with no wheels.

Like any school bus, this one winds its way through the neighborhood, adding more and more kids—and a few additional adults—along the way. But the Walking School Bus is much more than just another car or bus on the road. People recognize it, wave to the kids, and are warmed at the sight of school children chattering and skipping down the sidewalk, oblivious to the rest of the world. The Walking School Bus has become an Olneyville institution.

The idea of the Walking School Bus didn’t start with Olneyville. In fact, there’s a website for WalkingSchoolBus.org maintained by the National Center for Safe Routes to School (itself part of the Highway Safety Research Center at the University of North Carolina), that describes how to start your very own version.

Yet when I first heard about the Walking School Bus, I dismissed it as just a cute story. What does this have to do with policing? Ain’t no cops on the bus. But then I kept hearing about it. Providence police officers told me about it. So did the leadership team at the Rhode Island Department of Health, which funds the bus. So did the principal at the local elementary school. Again and again, people who had very different connections to the neighborhood brought up the Walking School Bus as a demonstration of something important to their slice of the community. That something varied with the speaker, but it was clear the Walking School Bus was more than a cute story. It mattered a great deal to the people who live and work in Olneyville.

It’s about education, of course. It’s about getting kids to their local elementary school, which matters as much to parents in Olneyville as it does to parents anywhere. In fact, though Olneyville is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Providence, D’Abate has very nearly the highest attendance rate in the city. But isn’t the Walking School Bus also about public safety, since it provides young children safe passage through some hard streets with tough spots? Or is it about public health? The bus meanders as much as two miles through the neighborhood on its way to school, getting the kids much-needed exercise and time outdoors.

Or maybe, in a less obvious way, it’s about employment, since the Walking School Bus gives parents, some of them trying to raise their kids on one income, the freedom (and peace of mind) to get to work without wondering whether their kids will get to school safely and on time. But maybe it’s really about the idea of community itself, with its creative demonstration of communal self-help and intricate relationship-building. Maybe academics have the Walking School Bus in mind when they toss around terms like “collective efficacy,” “social cohesion,” and “social capital.”

Of course, as I finally realized, it’s all these things, which goes to show that neighborhood well-being is never a matter of just one characteristic. After all, a safe neighborhood where people cannot be healthy is no better than a healthy neighborhood where people cannot be safe. In fact, does it really make sense to talk about one without the other? What good is it if you can buy healthful food at the market down the street if getting there means traveling on unsafe streets? What good is it if you have a free clinic a few blocks away where you can get treatment for high blood pressure if the police keep stopping you on the way there and back?

Just as importantly, the Walking School Bus reminds us that the many qualities that combine to create a vibrant, thriving neighborhood are interwoven and mutually dependent, and that a small, inexpensive initiative can have an outsized effect by rippling and compounding through the neighborhood. Yet the arrows can point both ways. Imagine what would happen—to public health, public safety, education, jobs, and the fabric of the community—if the Walking School Bus stopped running. When it comes to neighborhood well-being, it’s all connected, and support for (or neglect of) one affects all the others.

Sadly, too much of the conversation about neighborhood well-being takes place in silos, and as a result, we tend to think of these pieces as separate from one another—public safety as distinct from public health; housing as unconnected to jobs. There are books galore on affordable housing, but in a world of Venn diagrams, this literature does not overlap much with the shelves increasingly weighed down by the many books on the changing face of work, the “knowledge economy,” and the “creative class.” People who write about public health are just beginning to link their field to crime, criminal justice, and policing. And so on.

But once you train your gaze to view a neighborhood through a wider lens, the connections and links come into view. Before long, you start to see them everywhere and can’t understand how you could’ve missed them before. At least, that has been my experience. Consider, for instance, the rippling effects of affordable housing. As I have written elsewhere, there is now an impressive body of research demonstrating that if you live in substandard housing, you’re more apt to get sick. Go figure. Poor housing contributes to higher rates of asthma, lead and other environmental poisoning, as well as mental health problems.

Likewise, when families live in unaffordable housing, they tend to cut corners that need to be square. Another shocker. Families are more likely to go hungry or forgo medical care. One study found that working families paying 30 percent or less of their income on housing costs spent twice as much of their income on health care and insurance than did families paying 50 percent or more of their income for housing. How about education? Unsurprisingly, a child in a safe, stable home tends to get more out of school. The research suggests that high-quality, affordable housing can promote the educational success of low-income children “by supporting family financial stability, reducing mobility, providing safe, nurturing living environments, and providing a platform for community development.”

Then there is the matter of crime. Once again, recent research has shown that housing units subsidized by the federal low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) can lead to significantly lower crime rates. Another study found that LIHTC units led to “significant reductions in violent crime.” This too should not be surprising. After all, LIHTC housing units frequently replace dilapidated buildings and abandoned lots that are a magnet for crime. Combine this with the regulations that require LIHTC units be well maintained and you predictably increase the likelihood of a safe, vibrant neighborhood.

I have resolved in 2018 to embrace the complexity in criminal justice. This requires that I climb out of my silo and see criminal justice for its relationship and connection to other aspects of neighborhood well-being. Policing is part of a much bigger picture, but until we take a holistic and comprehensive view of cause and effect, our solutions will always be piecemeal and inadequate.

About the Author: 
Joseph Margulies is a Professor of Law and Government at Cornell University. He is the author of What Changed When Everything Changed: 9/11 and the Making of National Identity (Yale 2013), and is also counsel for Abu Zubaydah, for whose interrogation the torture memo was written.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Check Out CDOT's New Traffic Safety Funding Opportunity!

The Colorado Department of Transportation's Highway Safety Office has released their Request for Applications (RFA). All local communities are strongly encouraged to apply. Choose from exciting topics such as:

   Young Drivers
   Child Passenger Safety
   Impaired Driving
   Distracted Driving
   Seat Belt Compliance
   Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety

You can access the RFA HERE!

Important Dates
March 14, 2018      Technical Assistance Webinar
April 16, 2018         Applications Due by 3pm
May 7, 2018            Final Application Selection
May 14, 2018          Notification of Funding Decisions
October 1, 2018       Project Start Date

To participate in the technical assistance webinar on March 14th from 2:00 - 3:30pm log on to:

Webinar: https://cdphe.adobeconnect.com/rsx1n26pd335/
Call in: 712-770-4035   Pin: 669810

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Infant Safe Sleep Partnership, Baby Box Statement

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The Colorado Infant Safe Sleep Partnership, a group of diverse professionals and community members from across the state working to promote infant safe sleep and prevent sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) also called sleep-related infant death, recently developed and released a Baby Box Statement. The statement is meant to share with partners working with families what is know and unknown about baby boxes as an infant safe sleeping environment and will be updated as more information becomes available. 

Please feel free to share the statement widely. You can read and download the statement here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Webinar Series: Systems for Safe Sleep: Purposefully Building Programs for Effective Public Health Partnerships

The Safe States Alliance and Southeastern and Southwestern Injury Prevention Network is hosting a webinar series entitled Systems for Safe Sleep: Purposefully Building Programs for Effective Public Health Partnerships.

Webinar 1: Systematically assessing safe infant sleep interventions using the Multi-Sectoral Influences Matrix (M-SIM)

Recording: http://media.safestates.org/Systematically_Assessing_Safe_Infant_Sleep_M-SIM.mp4

In this presentation, participants will learn about the Multi-Sectoral Influences Matrix (M-SIM), a tool developed by Carolyn Cumpsty-Fowler of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and University. The M-SIM is used for assessing feasibility, relevance, challenges and opportunities, as well as for generating stakeholder-informed question strategies that can facilitate effective and thoughtful public health program design. Dr. Fowler will provide an overview of the M-SIM, then Merissa Yellman will discuss a community safe sleep program analysis using the M-SIM, and Jane Herwehe will share how the tool is being used in the Louisiana Office of Public Health Bureau of Family Health’s safe sleep work.

In the second webinar in the series, participants will learn about Tennessee’s approach to safe sleep and get ideas for applying their approach in your own community. Tennessee has had a great deal of success with their safe infant sleep programming. They have worked with hospitals, parents, providers, and the business community to implement a multi-faceted prevention campaign that has shown positive results. Importantly, these results are known because each arm of the program has included an evaluation that captures what and how the work was done, as well as its impact. Webinar 2 will be helpful for practitioners seeking a successful approach to implementing safe sleep programs.

As a part of a broader conversation about public health messaging, the third webinar in the series will discuss how safe sleep communication campaigns can cause conflict between public health and other professionals involved in infant and family health (i.e. breastfeeding advocates). In this webinar, Terri Miller from the Georgia Department of Health will share her story about the positive working relationship that developed between public health and maternal and child health in relation to Georgia’s Safe to Sleep Campaign. Linda Smith, co-author of Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family, will share her perspectives on the balance between women and baby’s need for sleep, nourishment, safety, and closeness. Jane Herwehe of the Louisiana Department of Health will provide final commentary on the webinar series, connecting each presentation back to the Multi-Sectoral Influences Matrix (M-SIM). Webinar 3 may be of particular interest to those interested in the tension between lived experience and public health data and research, as is it is exploring the sometimes contentious relationships between public health and breastfeeding advocates.

WEBINAR: Public Health Approaches to Addressing Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

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Public Health Approaches to Addressing Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
3:00 - 4:00 pm ET / 1:00 - 2:00 pm MT

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a drug withdrawal syndrome that most commonly occurs in infants after in utero exposure to opioids, although other substances have also been associated with the syndrome.”  An average of one infant was born with NAS every 25 minutes in the United States, as of 2012. NAS can cause a number of complications which lead to prolonged hospitalizations. Healthcare spending for NAS in 2012 has been estimated at $1.5 billion. Primary prevention strategies, including the improvement of preconception health care, are able to reduce the number of babies born with this condition.

In this webinar, we will hear from a representative of CDC and learn about one state’s approach to preventing NAS. Shanna Cox, M.S.P.H., a Health Scientist in CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health will highlight recent trends in opioid use and dependence among women of reproductive age and pregnant women. These trends are mirrored in those of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Her presentation will highlight public health strategies to address NAS in the preconception, pregnancy and birth and neonatal period.

Since its inception in 2006, a major focus of the West Virginia Perinatal Partnership has been on how to address the issue of maternal substance use and the effects of the opioid epidemic on mothers and their infants. Janine Breyel, Director of the Substance Use in Pregnancy Initiatives for the West Virginia Perinatal Partnership, will describe the work of the Partnership, including the development and implementation of its Drug Free Moms and Babies project. This innovative project provides comprehensive and integrated maternity and behavioral health care services to pregnant and postpartum women with substance use disorders. The presentation will highlight the state’s efforts to improve the identification, monitoring, diagnosis and treatment of babies at risk for NAS.

Monday, March 5, 2018

2018 Bridging the Divide: Suicide Prevention and Awareness Summit

Registration is NOW OPEN for the 2018 Bridging the Divide (BtD) Suicide Prevention and Awareness Summit, held May 17-18, 2018 at the Regis University Lowell Campus.

The theme for Bridging the Divide is Diversity and Inclusion in Suicide Prevention, and we are excited to welcome a wonderful panel of speakers at this year's event.

We would love to partner with you or your organization through sponsorship of this event. If you are interested in seeing the benefits of sponsorship, visit the BtD sponsorship page.