Promoting healthy living requires the commitment of the entire community. We believe that all of us want to be healthy and share in the benefits of a healthy life. But we can’t get something when it isn’t there and when everyone is not committed to achieving that dream. Over the past 6 years, Philadelphia Ujima Coalition for a Healthier Community has been partnering with schools, workplaces, organizations, and communities across the region to help people achieve the dream of good health.
Mission and Goals
The mission of the Philadelphia Ujima Coalition for a Healthier Community:
INFUSE the voice and strength of our communities into our organic, innovative coalition of care that is woven into the fabric of our social connections and makes sense to each person, family and neighborhood.
ENGAGE, innovate and use practical solutions to wellness and health education to serve as a catalyst for change – from the individuals to the groups in which we live and contribute;
CO-CREATE our unique model of health promotion that helps each member, each partner, our families and Philadelphia
Our vision is to develop a robust and organic collaborative network with a shared commitment to health using a gender focused, community participatory approach to health education and promotion that results in a replicable model for healthier organizations and people.
Our goals are to:
1. Address gender based constraints that influence health disparities and promote health and wellness for girls, women and families (including men) that result in improved health outcomes across multiple health conditions.
2. Implement Gender Integrated Health Education and Promotion intervention, outreach and social media programming with partner and affiliate sites.
History and Funding: An Evolution of Philadelphia Ujima Health Education and Promotion
In 2007, the Philadelphia Ujima: Mind Spirit Body Health Collaborative was established. The collaborative received funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health Advancing System Improvements to Support Targets for Healthy People 2010 Grant (ASIST 2010), to reduce health disparities and promote achievement of Healthy People 2010 goals in underserved communities in Philadelphia. The collaborative began with 5 faith based and social service organizations.
With ASIST2010 funding, Philadelphia Ujima developed a robust and organic collaborative network with a shared commitment to health using a gender focused, community participatory approach to health education and promotion, which resulted in a replicable model for healthier organizations and people. This model included ALL stakeholders to improve health outcomes, promote health advocacy, and support system level change. It promoted individual change (“ground up”), and utilized traditional social networks for reinforcing behavior by delivering and reinforcing health messages where people lived and congregate in faith and community based organizations. The program noted many successes as it delivered over 100 health education workshops to 3500 participants and trained over 60 lay health workers. Participants were successful in making behavior changes such as accessing recommended screenings and increasing daily fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity.
Building upon the successes of our model, Ujima expanded the community partnerships in the Philadelphia Ujima Coalition (Coalition for Healthier Communities). In 2010, the Office on Women’s Health awarded the Coalition additional funding to conduct a community needs assessment to determine priority areas for girls’ and women’s health and wellness in Philadelphia. A strategic action and implementation plan highlighting these priorities and a proposed intervention was developed based on the findings of our gender based needs assessment.
In September 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched Phase II of a national initiative entitled the Coalition for a Healthier Community (CHC) and awarded the Coalition with funding to support the implementation of the strategic action plan. The Coalition was awarded funding over a period of five years to address health disparities that affect women and girls, with the goal of producing community-wide behavior change. The Coalition has continued to expand its membership and now includes over 20 academic, faith based, social service, data, governmental, health and wellness organizations.