The mission of the Community Alliance for Research & Engagement (CARE) at Yale School of Public Health is to improve health in New Haven. CARE was established in 2007 to identify solutions to health challenges through community action research. CARE promotes the prevention of chronic disease by focusing on social, environmental, and behavioral risk factors. For nearly ten years, CARE has collaborated with residents from six low-income neighborhoods; students, teachers and staff from 12 New Haven Public Schools; and with numerous community partners across the city to create change in the places where we live, work, and play. In this collaborative work, CARE is proud to contribute toward important initiatives – while tracking important changes in our community’s health. In this collaborative work, CARE is proud to contribute toward important initiatives – while tracking important changes in our community’s health.
THE NEXT DECADE
CARE is partnering with Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) to enhance ongoing efforts to improve the health of residents. CARE is moving aspects of its community engagement work to SCSU: combining research strength at the Yale School of Public Health with the outreach capabilities of students, faculty, and staff from SCSU’s School of Health and Human Services. This partnership represents a powerful next step in the evolution of CARE by engaging with a local state university to drive deeper change into New Haven. The Yale School of Public Health will remain as the central hub for CARE’s research activities, with a focus on data analysis from its New Haven Public Schools and neighborhood health surveys. Yale will also guide research design, complementing SCSU as it builds infrastructure, programs, research capacity, and funding to implement and sustain community health initiatives from within the School of Health and Human Services.
IN NEW HAVEN NEIGHBORHOODS
Communities most at-risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease also experience structural barriers within the built environment that prevent people from engaging in healthy behaviors – unsafe streets for walking and biking; lack of access to affordable, healthy foods; limited recreational resources and more. CARE has been working with residents at the neighborhood level to address some of these barriers to health.
IN NEW HAVEN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
CARE, along with the Rudd Center for Food Policy (now at the University of Connecticut), developed a strong partnership with the New Haven Public School District. Because schools provide concentrated contact with children, they are a model environment to facilitate health and support nutrition education and physical activity.
CARE played a leading role in New Haven Food Policy Council to advocate for food policy changes and was instrumental in helping the Council reach many goals.
CARE was often called upon by organizations to provide consultation services to research and evaluate projects.
CARE has been successful in securing more than $7.5 million from diverse funding sources. CARE has remained steadfast in directing resources back into the community in many ways: awarding grants to neighborhood groups, filling jobs with local staff, contributing staff resources directly into community projects, and sharing resources with community based funding partners.