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Public Health Commission to host South End health forum

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  March 21, 2013 04:36 PM

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The Boston Public Health Commission is launching a series of community health forums and will hold its first in the South End.

The commission, working with the South End Healthy Boston Coalition, the Boston Alliance for Community Health, and the Blackstone Community Center, will discuss the health of residents in the neighborhood and work facilitate a strategic planning process to create a healthier community

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 27 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Blackstone Community Center.

“We are excited about the opportunity to come together with the community to think about many of the factors that impact health in the neighborhood,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of BPHC, said in a statement. “We know that understanding and addressing root causes is a must when it comes to making our neighborhoods healthier.”

The South End meeting is the first in a series of citywide health forums this year.

The commission hopes the meeting will allow people living and working in the community to discuss ways they can contribute to building a healthier South End and to determine the factors that help promote safety and reduce crime and substance abuse.

Attendees will also participate in an assessment of the trends impacting community health as part of a citywide and neighborhood-level planning process led by BACH and BPHC.

According to the recently released Health of Boston: A Neighborhood Focus, the South End, on average, is a young, well-educated neighborhood.

Over half its residents are between the ages of 18 to 44, and 53 percent of the population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Adults in the neighborhood are slightly less likely to smoke cigarettes or to have asthma and slightly more likely to exercise regularly compared to Boston overall. However, substance abuse deaths and rates of emergency department visits for nonfatal violence remain challenges for the community.

The report was the latest in a series of annual reports profiling trends in the health of Boston residents using approximately thirty indicators for the city as a whole and for individual neighborhoods.

The organizations hope to engage residents in the assessment, and to share data about the health of the community and factors contributing to it in order to collaborate on building a healthier South End.

“The coalition looks forward to this opportunity to share the results of our assessment and continue learning from residents from throughout the community about what impacts their health,” Caitlin Johnson, coordinator of the South End Healthy Boston Coalition, said in a statement.

E-mail Kaiser at Johanna.yourtown@gmail.com. For more news about your city, town, neighborhood, or campus, visit boston.com’s Your Town homepage.

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