The Newport Health Equity Zone project will take a close look at 6 areas of community life that promote good health. It will find out what our neighborhoods have, and what our neighborhoods are missing. Then, it will create a plan of action, and make things happen! These six areas of community life are as follows:
Education, Innovation & Economic Opportunity
The Education, Innovation and Economic Opportunity working group is being led by Fab Newport. The link between education, innovation, economic opportunity and health is multifaceted. Increased levels of education leads to decreased rates of disease and disability. Furthermore, prolonged unemployment can lead to increased levels of stress and limit one’s availability to self-care resources.
In year one of the Newport Health Equity zone project, the Education, Innovation and Economic Opportunity working group is interested in exploring:
What educational opportunities are currently available for both adolescents and adults?
How current “hobbies” can be turned into an economic opportunity?
What barriers prevent parents and children from seeking higher education opportunities?
The transportation working group is being led by Bike Newport. This working group is excited to explore how commuters in Newport use transportation, particularly active transportation both leisurely and practically. Beyond the physical and emotional health benefits of active transportation, any mode of transportation allows one to access many health related services and reduces the feeling of isolation and stress.
In year one of the Newport Health Equity Zone project, the Transportation working group is interested in exploring:
How does living in close proximity to 138 (bridge) and 114 West Main Road impact health?
How can biking and walking be supported as means of transportation?
What are the transportation constraints (i.e. cargo, physical limitations, routes, distance etc.)?
How does household income play a role in transportation decisions?
Are residents of the North End and Broadway communities who bike and/or walk in better health?
What are typical commutes like?
The Food Access and Nutrition working group is being led by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center. Food Access and Nutrition directly impact one’s overall health and wellbeing in many ways. For instance, if adults are hungry, they often cannot function effectively – whether it is to work, or take care of their children. Similarly, most food available at food pantries and inexpensive food outlets are calorie dense and nutrition poor.
In the first year of this project, members of the food access and nutrition working group look forward to exploring:
Where do most people shop?
What food outlets are available within walking distance or on a bus line?
What kinds of food are most accessible?
Are people able to access the food that they need? If not, what are the barriers?
How many people receive SNAP benefits, and how many people have applied and been rejected?
Do families have access to culturally appropriate food?
Arts & Culture
The Arts and Culture working group is being led by the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County. Among many other outcomes, involvement in the arts has been shown to abate stress and enhance immune function, develop communication and self-expression skills, and reduce delinquency and neighborhood crime.
In the first year of this project, members of the Arts & Culture working group are interested in answering:
What is the creative density of the North End and Broadway communities in Newport?
Do residents all have a shared definition of “health”, “art”, and “culture”?
What is the Art curriculum for school-aged children living in these two communities?
What is the literacy rate within the Health Equity Zone?
What percentage of residents participate in the arts, and how does this compare to the national average?
Physical & Emotional Health
The Physical and Emotional Health working group is being led by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newport County. Physical activity has numerous health benefits. It reduces one’s risk of cardiovascular disease, some cancers, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, strengthens your bones and muscles, and can improve your mood.
In year one of the Newport Health Equity Zone project, the Physical and Emotional Health working group is interested in exploring:
How can residents of all ages be more physically active?
What health concerns are impacting residents in the HEZ?
What physical activities are residents currently engaging in? What activities would they be willing to engage in with access?
What barriers exist to improving physical and emotional health in our neighborhoods?
Open Space, Parks & Trails
The Open Space working group is being led by the Aquidneck Land Trust. The links between open space and health are endless. Research shows that green spaces have the potential to improve self-perceived health, mental health, cognitive development among adolescents and perceived community connectedness.
In the first year of this project, members of the Open Space working group are interested in answering:
What open spaces and parklands already exist in the North End and Broadway neighborhoods?
Is there access to all types of open space?
Do residents use open space in all seasons?
Are there enough green spaces and street trees outside of parks?
Do residents feel safe in city parks?
Is there access to the coastal, beach, or swimming activities?