In an effort to improve the health and wellness of D.C.’s communities, Sibley Memorial Hospital is launching a first-of-its-kind Community Health Innovators in Residence Program.
The program, which consists of Wards 7 and 8 organizations and residents, will work collaboratively with Sibley to create solutions for improving health and wellness issues in the community.
According to the D.C. Department of Health, in 2010, Ward 8 residents had the highest rates of obesity and were least likely to exercise; the second highest rates in the District were in Ward 7.
Research from the D.C. Policy Center also found that areas in Ward 8—Anacostia, Barry Farms, Mayfair and Ivy City—comprise the majority of the food deserts throughout the city. Food deserts are defined as geographic areas where people have limited access to healthy food.
During a series of conversations with Sibley officials, D.C. community and faith leaders, senior-citizens and students expressed concerns about having access to healthy fruits and vegetables, and the impact that the lack of access has on the community’s well-being.
“Sibley is 100 percent committed to improving lives of all residents in the District. And what makes our commitment unique is Sibley’s culture of human-centered design, which is based on listening and understanding,” said Richard O. Davis, president and CEO of Sibley Memorial Hospital.
The hospital will create an advisory board comprised of Wards 7 and 8 residents, organizations, health care representatives and elected officials to inform health focus areas and evaluate health and wellness initiatives. Additionally, Sibley invites residents and nonprofit organizations serving Wards 7 and 8 to apply to the first cohort of the program by visiting www.wardinfinity.com. Each resident-led group will receive up to $25,000 to fund health and wellness-related projects in their community, as well as coaching and guidance from industry designers and entrepreneurs.