Evaluation of the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund Initiative, Phase 3
Building Healthy Communities
December 15, 2020
To tackle some of the underlying problems that have affected the health of communities, NYSHealth launched the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund initiative to help New York State communities become healthier and more active places.
Since 2015, NYSHealth has invested more than $20 million in this initiative to support six communities across the State in their efforts to increase access to healthy, affordable food; improve access to safe places where residents can exercise and be active; and connect children and adults to programs that support healthy behaviors. This investment also has included support for an independent evaluation conducted by the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine, with NYSHealth support in 2015 and 2018, to measure outcomes and changes in the communities. As this initiative enters its final year of programming, it is important to determine its overall impact and provide lessons about whether, how, and why changes came about. In 2020, NYSHealth awarded NYU a grant to complete its evaluation of the Foundation’s investment in expanding access to and demand for nutritious food and safe places for physical activity.
Under this grant, NYU will complete its analysis of the efforts, processes, and changes made to increase access to healthy, affordable food and improve the built environment in each community. The evaluation will help determine the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund initiative’s impact at the community and individual levels, both of which are integral to demonstrating success. NYU will measure community-level change in the availability and accessibility of healthy foods and safe spaces for active living, including individual-level behavior changes, social cohesion, and sustainability. It will conduct site visits to grantee neighborhoods (with virtual visits as necessary); collect and review programmatic documents; interview community residents and elicit photos; and offer the communities technical assistance and feedback to help them incorporate evaluation findings into their programs and use data to improve. Additionally, it will focus on identifying the factors that enabled the communities to adapt during the COVID-19 crisis. NYU will develop a comprehensive final report detailing the overall impact of the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund initiative, which will be shared with each of the six communities and other key stakeholders.