December 2019


The Swetland Scoop

December 2nd, 2019

The Swetland Center team wishes everyone happy holidays
and a healthy and successful new year!

 News & Announcements 

The Swetland Center successfully applies for multi-year NIH Grant: 

Colleagues and Partners,

We did it! The Center of Excellence for Environmental Health Equity P50 grant application was submitted to the NIH on November 22nd, 2019. This was a major undertaking involving >60 investigators, partners, and advisors. The proposal is based on an approach that centralizes community engagement and the formation of trusting research partnerships as the catalyst for eliminating environmental health disparities. Additionally, our plan prioritizes training the next generation of environmental health equity researchers from NIH-designated health disparity populations. In preparing this application, one study stood out because it demonstrated an 88-fold difference in child asthma hospital admission rates between the highest and lowest income neighborhoods. The article concluded by stating:

"...a reduction of the county-wide admission rate to that of the bottom quintile [the wealthiest neighborhood] would decrease annual admissions from 862 to 34. A rate of zero [asthma hospitalizations] was present in 15 neighborhoods, which is evidence of what may be attainable." Beck et al., 2014 J Pediatrics

We have a lot to do, but the evidence is strong for moving to a neighborhood-level approach to eliminate disparities in child asthma. In the New Year, we will create an action plan for bringing to life the components of the P50 proposal. We will hear more about the status of our application by late spring 2020. Regardless, the Swetland Center is committed to furthering the aims and goals of this proposal working in partnership with our key stakeholders. We have pilot funding available to kick off at least one component of this P50 plan beginning in 2020. 

Here is a summary of our application:
The Cleveland Center of Excellence in Environmental Health Equity will be established at Case Western Reserve University, working in collaboration with clinical, community, and academic partners, to foster multidisciplinary and community-engaged research and research capacity building for new investigators focused on understanding and eliminating environmental health disparities. The Center’s thematic focus is on the accumulation of neighborhood-level environmental exposures influencing the air we breathe and its connection to community health—with a focus on child health. Using a community-engaged, contextualized, and solutions-oriented approach, the central goal is to use the Center of Excellence infrastructure to establish the evidence base for an applied and scalable implementation model to target and tailor neighborhood-level interventions where they are most needed to reduce asthma disparities and realize co-benefits among children living in asthma hot spots. This will be accomplished through the following Cores over the five-year grant cycle from 2020-25.

Administrative Core (Lead: Freedman): Cultivate an adaptive learning culture that brings together diverse skills and experiences to support transformative research, training and education, and community engagement to promote environmental health equity.
Community Engagement & Dissemination Core (Leads: Mulloy, Sommer): Foster authentic community engagement to develop credible and relevant science on the link between physical, built, and social environmental exposures within neighborhoods and health equity, and translate and disseminate these findings into sustainable neighborhood and system-level strategies to eliminate environmental health disparities locally and beyond.
Investigator Development Core (Leads: Stange, King): Incubate innovative and impactful team science research projects conducted in partnership with organizational and community partners to advance environmental health equity through a comprehensive training and pilot program for emerging investigators from health disparity populations.
Research Project 1 (Leads: Coulton, Curtis): Establish and validate the Cleveland Child Asthma Health Equity Registry and Portal (CHERP), a near real-time data system that combines existing health, contextual, and social “big data” systems with fine-scale ethnographic, sensor data, and citizen science to identify geographically varying and modifiable environmental factors contributing to child asthma exacerbations and use this information to target action.
Research Project 2 (Leads: Ross, Bole): Develop, implement, and evaluate a neighborhood-based and action-oriented system improvement process to target and tailor neighborhood-level interventions designed to mitigate the relationship between accumulation of environmental exposures and population risk for disparities in child asthma exacerbations.

Lessons learned by establishing a Specialized Center of Excellence in Environmental Health Disparities in Cleveland, Ohio will result in local benefits and inform efforts in other cities working to move the needle toward environmental health equity.


Welcoming new Swetland Staff!

Sara Roberts
Sara Roberts, MSSA, LISW is the new Senior Director of the HEALing Communities Study at the Swetland Center. Sara is an MSSA graduate from the Mandel School at CWRU, where she also has experience in teaching various graduate-level courses. Her most recent position as Chief Program Officer and Clinical Director at the Hope Village Recovery Center offered experience in clinical programming and developing services, assessments, and treatments. Welcome, Sara!

Rebecca Bracken
Rebecca Bracken, BA is a new Graduate Assistant with the HEALing Communities Study at the Swetland Center for Environmental Health. She comes from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she was a Research Specialist recruiting patients, managing data, and running statistical analysis within the Department of Emergency Medicine. Rebecca is an MPH candidate at Case Western Reserve and is also a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine candidate with the Western University of Health Sciences in Oregon. We are grateful to have such an experienced and enthusiastic team member. Welcome, Rebecca! 


Rebecca Bracken
Be sure to keep up with Swetland news through our online News & Events page!

 Swetland Opportunities 

Introducing the Swetland Center Professional Development Series:
Mark your calendars! Join our lunch & learn opportunities each month to learn about a diverse set of topics. From personal development to university resources, the Swetland Center is committed to developing opportunities to advance the professional needs of staff, faculty, students, and the community. All sessions are free and open to the public. See our upcoming series dates and times below.

 Helpful Resources 

You're Invited!

Racial justice scholar and Harvard history professor, Khalil Gibran Muhammad will be speaking at Tinkham Veal on January 17th, 2020 at 12:45 pm. Case Western Reserve University community will have the opportunity to hear from Muhammad during an on-campus visit. He will be delivering his talk: “Diversity is Not Enough: How Bias Education Makes Us Smarter, Fairer and Kinder”. The Swetland Center invites you to join us in attending his talk.

If you are interested in attending his talk with the Swetland team, please fill out THIS short form by Monday, December 9th! We will RSVP as a group. The event is free to the public.


Film Screening

"Toxic: A Black Woman's Story" film screening is being hosted by Councilman Blain A. Griffin on Tue, December 10, 2019 from 5:30 - 7:30 PM at the Atlas Cinemas in Shaker Square. This short film was developed by First Year Cleveland's Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) Initiative and the Healthy Neighborhoods Committee of the Healthy Cleveland Initiative. This event is FREE, open to the public, and registration is required. You can register HERE

 Swetland Spotlight 

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Become a #FoodRescueHero!
The mission of the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland is to reduce hunger and enhance nutrition in our community by providing food and other health-related vital services to individuals and families, and by actively and effectively participating in a coordinated response to people in need. The Hunger Network Food Rescue program launched to address the disconnect between food that is wasted and those who are hungry in our community. 

Become a #FoodRescueHero! The Hunger Network is seeking volunteers to be their feet on the ground to rescue and deliver food to hunger centers around town. Rescues can be weekly, scheduled food rescues or pop-up food rescues.

Weekly rescues: Weekly rescues occur on the day, time, and frequency of your choice. These types of rescues allow you to build relationships with our food donors and food recipients during your recurring rescues
Pop-up rescues: Pop-up rescues occur on an as-needed basis. These are not at pre-determined days and times and you can choose to claim or ignore the rescue.
To learn more about how you can become
a #FoodRescueHero, see HERE.

Have an opportunity you'd like us to feature in our next newsletter? We are accepting content submissions! You can find the submission form HERE