Last fall, researchers in St. Louis released five policy briefs in a groundbreaking study on the health and well-being of African Americans in the region. Now it’s time for the community to weigh in on “For the Sake of All: A Report on the Health and Well-Being of African Americans in St. Louis.”
“From the beginning, we wanted this project to influence the conversation on the health of both the African-American community and the broader community, focusing not just on health but also education and economics,” said Jason Q. Purnell, PhD, assistant professor in the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and lead researcher on the project. “This is an important step to gauge the pulse of the community and find out what aspects of the research are touching a nerve and how best to present our final report.”
The “For the Sake of All” Community Feedback Forum open house takes place from 3-7 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, in the Learning Lab at the Forest Park Visitor Center, 5595 Grand Drive on the north side of Forest Park near the Missouri History Museum.
Participants will have an opportunity to meet Purnell and other members of the project team in an informal setting and will be given a preview of the “For the Sake of All” report in the form of posters and visual aids. Visitors will be asked to provide feedback on the clarity, content and appropriateness of draft report elements and recommendations.
This event is free and open to the public, but registration is requested and can be made on the event registration page.
The “For the Sake of All” study is funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health and includes faculty from WUSTL and Saint Louis University. WUSTL’s Institute for Public Health, the Brown School’s Policy Forum, The St. Louis American newspaper and the online news site St. Louis Beacon are partners as well.
Policy briefs were released beginning late last summer and throughout last fall in these five areas:
- “How Can We Save Lives — and Save Money — in St. Louis? Invest in Economic and Educational Opportunity,” written by Purnell and released Aug. 28, 2013, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington;
- “How does health influence school dropout?” written by William F. Tate, PhD, the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences at WUSTL, released Sept. 25, 2013;
- “How Can We Improve Mental Health in St. Louis? Invest in Our Community and Raise Awareness,” written by Darrell Hudson, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School, released Oct. 16, 2013;
- “Segregation: Divided Cities Lead to Differences in Health,” written by Melody S. Goodman, PhD, assistant professor of surgery in the Division of Public Health Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and Keon L. Gilbert, DrPH, assistant professor of behavioral science and health education in the College for Public Health & Social Justice at Saint Louis University, released Nov. 6, 2013; and
- “Chronic Disease in St. Louis: Progress for Better Health,” written by Bettina F. Drake, PhD, assistant professor of surgery in Public Health Sciences at the Washington University School of Medicine, and Keith Elder, PhD, associate professor and chair, Department of Health Management & Policy for the College for Public Health & Social Justice at Saint Louis University, released Dec. 5, 2013.
After the community forum, Purnell and his team will present a briefing on the project to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay in March. Plans also are being made to brief the St. Louis Board of Aldermen as well as County Executive Charles Dooley, the St. Louis County Council and the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus and other St. Louis area legislators in Jefferson City.
On Friday, May 30, the “For the Sake of All” team will issue a final report and present policy recommendations at a community conference — just two weeks after the 60th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education, and five weeks prior to the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“These anniversaries are opportune bookends to the timing of the project, but they are just dates on a calendar,” Purnell said. “Here we are, 50-60 years later, and we’ve still got a lot of work to do.
“We look forward to hearing what the community has to say,” he said.
For more information on the “For the Sake of All” project, visit forthesakeofall.org.