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Jamaica Plain Youth Health Equity Coalition Report March 10, 2011

Posted by tomwolff in : Uncategorized , trackback




For the last few years I have the honor, pleasure and challenge of working with the Boston Public Health Commission’s Office of Health Equity and Social Justice on their racial health equity programs. http://www.bphc.org/chesj/Pages/default.aspx

Specifically I have been the coalition building, community development consultant to about a dozen of the community sites that they have funded.

The Jamaica Plain Youth Health Equity Collaborative http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=193620544737 has been an especially active and productive coalition. The Jamaica Plain Youth Health Equity Collaborative, a group of youth, health care, housing, education, and youth serving organizations, met for over a year to look at six social determinants of health areas or BUCKETS that impact young people who live, work, and play in Jamaica Plain. The six determinants were housing, education, employment, health care, food and fitness and safety.

Out of this work emerged the Jamaica Plain Youth Report. http://www.bphc.org/chesj/resources/Documents/Reports/JP%20Report.pdf

Each section of the report addresses one of the buckets (social determinants of health) and includes material generated by the young people themselves that cover:

–         A real youth experience of life in JP (names have been changed)

–         Data that supports the real experiences of youth in JP

–         A connection to health outcomes and systemic/institutional racism identified by the youth

–         A list of local organizations where good work on this issue is being done

–         Suggestions for action

The report was written for the youth of the community. The cover of the report has a picture of a “Teeny” which is a drink that is very available in the JP stores that cater to JP’s African American and Latino communities. The main characteristic of a Teeny is that it is 100% full of nothing that is good for you (mainly sugar, flavoring, water and coloring). It is usually replaced by real juice in the stores in the more affluent White parts of JP. It is thus a great symbol of the social determinants of health. Under the picture of the Teeny on the cover it says “If you know what this is, this report if for YOU”

The report was mainly the creative work of Meghan Wood (megleewood@gmail.com).

Check it out  – it is an impressive and engaging product and can be an inspiration for other communities.


They hope that in the hands of young people, their families, and the organizations that serve them, this report will aid in the fight to create a more equitable JP and Boston.

I have been inspired by the work of the JP Youth Health Equity Collaborative and their leader, Abigail Ortiz, and you will too. Take a look and then let us know what you think. Could you do something like this your community? COMMENT HERE.


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