Policy & Place Committee

Academic Co-Lead: Alison Culyba, MD, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Public Health, and Clinical and Translational Science, School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics University of Pittsburgh

Academic Co-Lead: Mary Ohmer, PhD, MSW, MPIA, Associate Professor and Chair, Community, Organization, and Social Action Program, University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work

Community Co-Lead: Jason Beery, PhD, Director of Applied Research, UrbanKind Institute

Community Co-Lead: Tracey Joiner, Community Health Deputy Manager, Neighborhood Resilience Project

Collective impact requires shared responsibilities to bring about systemic change. We believe that all institutions within our region, and their policies, play a significant role in ensuring that every child in our region is healthy, thriving, and achieving their academic goals. Instituting collective efficacy, building trust among residents who are willing to intervene to address neighborhood problem is essential to the process. Strong and authentic relationships are the keystones in establishing neighborhood-wide confidence and motivation to increase community capacity and leadership to prevent violence and improve community mental health.

We’re dedicated to supporting community resilience and it serves as the focus for the Policy and Place Committee. With our work, we seek to identify the impact of policies and place-based factors on children thriving in Allegheny County through community-partnered and equity-focused policy analysis and outreach. We consider these place-based factors as we look to understand how policies in the region create, contribute to, preserve, and combat systemic inequities.

We collaborate with a variety of key community organizations and researchers who are already engaged in antiracist work to expand our impact throughout Pittsburgh. Our current goal is to administer and grow the Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma (ReCAST) Allegheny Program. ReCAST is a scientifically backed program that strengthens and equips our communities to work together to improve youth and family behavioral health, reduce trauma and violence, and sustain positive change through collective impact addressing oppression and systemic racism. A healing justice framework underscores that our children, families, and communities are not broken, and that strategies to enhance resiliency and promote relational healing can be at the core of our approach to the mental health crisis.

ReCAST is a five-year project funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that consists of three program interventions, Empowering Teens to Thrive, Youth Violence Prevention and Collective Efficacy. A substantial part of the program centers around connecting youth to racial and gender justice-informed violence prevention programs to address trauma, violence, and civil unrest. The results and feedback from partners and the community indicate that we’re able to improve care coordination and mentoring for young people injured or impacted by violence, trauma, and civil unrest to promote recovery and reduce future violence involvement.