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CleanMed 2016

Working through Coming Clean, leaders for community-based organizations representing people of color and professionals from the healthcare and green energy sectors anchored a 90 minute convening at Health Care Without Harm’s CleanMed 2016 conference (May 18, 2016). The session, Protecting People of Color and Low Income People in Hospital Neighborhoods: Two Interventions, attracted approximately 50 CleanMed attendees. These attendees participated in and emerged from the convening better informed about the set of conditions causing health disparities in people of color and low-income residents of communities living near 3,433 of the U.S.’s most high risk chemical facilities. Panelists presented two solution-based interventions that would benefit disproportionately impacted people in these communities: local farm and food access projects and alternative energy cooperatives linking institutional or corporate partners and local residents.

A national news release by Coming Clean and three blogs about the panel by Health Care Without Harm and First Choice Community Health Centers led to national and state press coverage of the panel, as well as a special June 6 Albuquerque City Council proclamation recognizing the lifetime achievements of Richard Moore, catalyzed in part by his CleanMed appearance. Panelists made connections with participants that have led to follow-up activities, expanded the range of professional relationships, and began applying the experience and knowledge gained.

Facilitated by Michele Roberts, (Environmental Justice Health Alliance and Coming Clean), the panelists presented data showing that residents of high risk chemical facility zones are disproportionately exposed to pollution, often food insecure, live in food deserts, and rely on dollar stores for highly processed food, often in BPA-lined cans.

Panelists included:

  •  José Bravo (Campaign for Healthier Solutions),
  •  Richard Moore (Los Jardines Institute and Agri-Cultura Network)
  •  Dr. Will Kaufman (First Choice Community Health Centers)

They described a system change strategy in Albuquerque, New Mexico that would improve overall community wellness by increasing local organic food production in and for underserved communities and made easily accessible for discounted purchase at nearby locations, such as schools, hospitals, and dollar stores.

The second system change presented at the convening focused on opportunities for local people of color and low-income communities to be full participants in clean energy development projects, including installation, financing, and training.

Panelists included:

  • Jeffrey Richardson, CEO of Imani Energy

Richardson described his company’s project in Wilmington, Delaware that features collaboration with the Central Baptist Community Development Corporation, a faith-based community development group that promotes local adoption of solar energy to reduce use and emission of fossil fuels while providing local green power during emergency outages (i.e., enabling doors to stay open in hard to evacuate areas in a weather or chemical disaster-related power outage), and opportunities for local participants to move from training to employment.

 

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