IPHN works to educate, engage and enlist diverse faith communities to improve public health through connecting potential partners, convening constructive dialogue, cultivating population health understanding, & catalyzing social change.
Current and recent IPHN projects include:
Population Health Improvement/Social Determinants of Health
NewYork-Presbyterian CHALK Mini-Grants
IPHN is providing technical assistance and support to the recipients of the Faith-Based Minigrant from Choosing Healthy & Active Lifestyles for Kids (CHALK), NewYork Presbyterian’s (NYP) obesity prevention program undertaken in collaboration with Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). The grant provides assistance for small faith‐based organizations to develop or expand a policy, systems, and/or environmental change (PSE-change) project with a focus on addressing the social determinants of health in the communities they serve.
Grantees for the first year of the grant include Altagracia Faith and Justice Works, Golden Leaf Community Development Center, Groundswell at King of Glory Tabernacle, Islamic Cultural Center of the Bronx, the Church of St. Helena, St. Charles Borromeo Church, and Word of Life International.
While the implementation of many of these projects has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related capacity issues for the faith-based organizations, the grantees were granted flexibility from the funder to refocus and retool their projects as needed.
ROOT CAUSES: Systemic Racism and Health Disparities in the South Bronx
The first mini-grant project to complete its initial run is the project undertaken by Word of Life International (WOL). For this project, IPHN worked with WOL to design and deliver a 5-session Zoom series to educate and engage community members about the public health impacts of systemic racism, discuss the local context (especially in Bronx Community Districts 1, 2, and 3), and begin to strategize ways to mitigate these impacts at the local level.
Guest presenters for the series included Dial Hewlett, Jr., MD, from the Westchester Bronx Society of Black Physicians; Prof. Dennis Derryck of the Corbin Hill Food Project and The New School; Alex Fennell of the Racial Impact Study Coalition; and, Dr. Melissa Barber of South Bronx Unite. Oyiza Adaba of Africa-Related moderated the sessions, with Reverend John Udo-okon of Word of Life Church serving as Director of the project.
The recordings from the webinar series are available on WOL’s YouTube channel.
Food Systems & Food Policy
Faith + Food Coalition Dialogues
IPHN is proud to be supporting the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in hosting a series of Food Systems Dialogues with faith leaders in advance of the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit. There will be a dialogue for each of the five Action Tracks of the Food Systems Summit. The first one focused on Food Security, Access, and Justice. We encourage you to join the Faith + Food Coalition and register to participate in the dialogues. Learn more and register at: https://www.faithandfood.earth/ or here.
Mindful Eating for the Beloved Community
IPHN is partnering with BCA Global and Sequoia Samanvaya to create and offer a Mindful Eating for the Beloved Community program for faith communities based on BCA Global’s Mindful Eating for the Beloved Community initiative and book of the same name. The pilot program, held every other week from March - June 2021, is being hosted by St. Helena Catholic Church and with support from Bronx Health REACH. The program includes skill-building in mindful eating, cooking demonstrations and personal reflection to enable healthier lives, social change and a deeper connection between body, mind, and spirit. The program encourages people to become more conscious of food choices, advance equity, constructively address determinants of health for food systems transformation, and build community.
Kelly also participated in a panel presentation on Food, Race, and Climate for BCA Global’s Food, Race, and Social Justice virtual conference and fundraiser in December 2020, alongside Karyn Bigelow from the Bread for the World Institute.
IPHN is helping to begin a Sacred Lands Coalition which has initially focused on recruiting people to join a cohort of JustFaith’s new eco-justice program, Sacred Land: Food and Farming. The JustFaith program emphasizes indigenous wisdom as shared in the book Braiding Sweetgrass, while also reviewing Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, Bread for the World’s 2020 Hunger Report, and other texts and videos. This is the first program in JustFaith Ministries’ Eco-justice series which will grow to include Sacred Air and Sacred Water in 2021. The Sacred Land Coalition will utilize the Way of the Council to convene its meetings, practiced by the Center for Action and Contemplation and the Southern California Franciscan Solidarity Table. The coalition will work to heal the divide between Christian and indigenous communities that is rooted in the history of the Doctrine of Discovery and colonization by demonstrating the synergies between Franciscan spirituality and indigenous perspectives. It will highlight practical ways that communities across the country and world are advancing policy, systems and environmental changes for improved human relationships with land and creation. New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light, led by Sr. Joan Brown OSF, will partner on adapting the JustFaith program to be inclusive of interfaith perspectives. The coalition began by offering the 8-week program virtually between January-March, 2021.
Food System Vision Prize
The IPHN-led project Faith Institutions Leading the Way Towards Healthy & Sustainable Food Systems was selected as a semi-finalist for the Rockefeller Foundation Food System Vision Prize (FSVP) 2050. It was one of just 79 visions selected from over 1,300 submissions across 100+ nations. The vision details how faith communities can be involved with growing a regional food system along the northeast coast of the U.S. Read our vision here.
Key stakeholders contributing to the vision include Public Sector Consultants, Green the Church, Black Church Food Security Network, ChurchLands, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Newborn Community of Faith Church, and BronxEats.
Additionally, in November, IPHN Convener Kelly Moltzen participated in a Food Systems Leadership Dialogue convened by the Rockefeller Foundation and the World Economic Forum, to which FSVP semi-finalists were invited. The dialogue was part of a Bold Actions for Food as a Force for Good virtual forum, designed to lead up to the UN Food Systems Summit of 2021.
COVID-19 and other Infectious Diseases
NYC Test & Trace COVID-19 Community Engagement
IPHN assisted Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York (KCS) in optimizing and expanding its faith-based outreach for NYC Test and Trace (T2) Community Engagement work. IPHN assisted KCS in social media outreach and message formatting and design, as well as developing faith-focused messaging to promote COVID-19 containment and mitigation behaviors in Queens. The faith messaging, created collaboratively with adherents of faith groups, addressed historically Black Protestant Christian churches, Latinx Pentecostal Christian churches, Latinx Roman Catholic churches, and Buddhist temples.
Bronx Flu Fighters focus group recruitment
IPHN assisted the Institute for Family Health / Bronx Health REACH with outreach for their Bronx Flu Fighters project, a CDC-funded endeavor to encourage influenza vaccination among underserved communities. Specifically, IPHN was tasked with helping to recruit diverse residents of the Bronx for focus groups in order to help develop language for health promotion materials.
IPHN continues to pursue its mission by linking public health practitioners, faith communities, and needed resources.
Examples in the last few months include:
▪ Locating Muslim and Sikh partners for a COVID-19 community outreach program
▪ Connecting a hospital community pediatrics unit to a Muslim community-based organization in order to provide training on faith-based cultural competence
▪ Linking a church-based non-profit in the South Bronx to a major public health academic program, which has since provided the program with several student volunteers and committed to provide a steady stream of student interns
▪ Assisting Muslim partners in the Bronx in acquiring large amounts of hand sanitizer for use at mosque services
▪ Connecting the Diné (Navajo) community in New Mexico with US Health & Human Services to acquire needed face masks