Swetland's Best of 2019!

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This time of year provides a chance for us to look back and reflect on memorable moments and accomplishments as we work toward our vision for environmental health equity. The Swetland Center has so much to be grateful for and much that would not be possible without collaborations with our dedicated staff, affiliates, and community partners. Thank you for helping us make 2019 a year to remember!

1. Swetland Center Team Highlights for 2019


We welcomed two new US Citizens!

Both Roberto Martinez, MD (pre-doctoral fellow) and David Ngendahimana, PhD (post-doctoral scholar) became naturalized citizens of the United States of America!

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David Ngendahimana, PhD, MSc and his parents
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Roberto Martinez, MD, MPH with his mother-in-law and son











Celebrating Staff Graduations

Three Swetland staff graduated from various degree programs. We are fortunate to have such talented and hard-working staff!

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David Ngendahimana: Doctor of Philosophy in Biostatistics and Epidemiology, CWRU
Milen graduation photo
Milen Embaye: Master of Public Health, CWRU 
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Dominique Rose: Doctor of Philosophy in Health Education and a Master of Public Health, Southern Illinois University

2. Swetland Center Training and Community Education in 2019


Launch of the Swetland Internship Program

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The Swetland Center welcomed our first cohort of 5 summer interns. From data collection to organizational development, the interns engaged in meaningful activities, including opportunities to learn directly from our community partners, that enriched both their learning and our growth as a center. To learn more about our internship opportunities, see HERE



Convening Ideas and Actions: Creating Food Opportunities for the Future (#food4ourCLEfuture)

Poster from Convening Ideas Meeting May 2019

In May 2019, over 150 stakeholders came together to: (1) Learn more about the systems that shape food experiences in Greater Cleveland, (2) Voice opinions about opportunities and barriers to equitable food systems change, and (3) Identify realistic and impactful solutions to create food opportunities for our future. The collaborative event illuminated existing injustices of the food system; generated ideas for solutions to improve economic opportunity, food security, and nutrition equity; and fostered relationships that can be leveraged for equitable food systems change. The convening was organized by the Swetland Center as a part of its Modeling the Future of Food in Your Neighborhood Study (foodNEST 2.0). A summary of the convening is available here.


Launch of the PSE READI tools and website in Ohio
















The Building Capacity for Obesity Prevention Project (BCOP) celebrated its statewide launch of PSEREADI.org in early 2019. The website features four PSE READI assessment tools, an extensive online resource library of worksheets, toolkits, general resources, and a series of 20 videos featuring community nutrition practitioners from across Ohio working in the four community nutrition intervention areas. You can learn more about the history of the BCOP project and the development of PSE READI assessments HERE.


Launch of the Swetland Center Seminar Series 

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We launched our Seminar Series. The Swetland Center is committed to providing training and professional development opportunities to help educate the next generation of public health researchers and partners and increase capacity for environmental health equity within our community. To learn more see our website!



3. Swetland Center Research Accomplishments in 2019


New Statewide Collaboration to Reduce Opioid Fatalities in Ohio

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Case Western Reserve University received a $65.9 million federal grant from the National Institutes of Health to launch Ohio’s participation in the HEALing Communities Study (HCS). HCS is an initiative that will systematically plan, implement and evaluate data-driven approaches to integrate multi-pronged, evidence-based interventions within health care, behavioral health, justice systems, and communities to reduce opioid fatalities by 40%. Faculty members from Case Western’s School of Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences, and the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences have joined forces with researchers, practitioners, and representatives to combat the opioid crisis. The Swetland Center is a hub for supporting the study’s community engagement efforts. Swetland Center director, Dr. Darcy Freedman is leading Community Engagement efforts for Ohio and Landscape Analysis data report planning with the national team. Swetland Center staff members are coordinating these efforts with data collection and support, daily technical assistance to the Ohio team, and planning for additional phases of the grant that are scheduled to start at the beginning of 2020.


Sprint Team in front of National Cancer Institute Sign in DC

Speeding Research Tested Interventions for National Use

The Swetland Center was selected to participate in the National Cancer Institute’s SPeeding Research-tested INTerventions (SPRINT) program. The team included Darcy Freedman, Roberto Martinez (pre-doctoral fellow), Haley Tolerton (MSASS field student), and Rachael Sommer (Director of Operations and Partnerships) as well as two entrepreneurial mentors from CWRU LaunchNet (Bob Sopko, Victoria Avi). In eight intensive weeks, they took a deep dive exploring how to scale the FreshLink Ambassador intervention, the core research of the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods from 2014-19. You can watch their journey HERE!


Defining the Swetland Center’s Future Research Agenda

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The Swetland Center engaged nearly 50 partners in a series of conversations to prioritize our next five-year research agenda. In addition to our strong food systems and health program of research, we are adding in new research focused on developing and evaluating strategies that address the accumulation of environmental factors, with a focus on air quality, influencing environmental health equity. In November 2019, we submitted a large grant to the National Institutes of Health to further research focused on reducing child asthma disparities through environmental health improvements with a pilot project launching in early 2020 related to this line of research. Please reach out to Rachael (ras333@case.edu) if you are interested in partnering on new research in this space.

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Faculty Affiliate Launch

In August 2019, the Swetland Center began establishing a team of esteemed affiliated faculty. We seek to grow our network of affiliated faculty from across a variety of disciplines to further our mission to investigate the complex interplay between the environment and health. To view our current affiliates and to learn how you can become affiliated, see our affiliate webpage