Healthy Neighborhood Community Mapping Project
Building Healthy Communities
April 12, 2016
The health of residents in a community is dependent not only on access to quality health care, but on the availability and knowledge of resources available.
If essential resources such as health services, fitness opportunities, grocery stores, and public service centers are not promoted, they run the risk of being unnoticed and underused, especially in low-income communities, where it has been found that up to 30% of neighborhood assets are not returned by search engines such as Google. MAPSCorps creates comprehensive maps of community assets and makes them available to the public through an online database. Doctors, social workers, case managers, community health workers, and other health care providers can use MAPSCorps’ data to help connect people to services close to where they live, including resources for healthy eating and active living. Also a youth employment training program, MAPSCorps provides meaningful work opportunities for high school youth, training them and pairing them in teams to collect, catalogue, and analyze the data. In July 2015, NYHealth awarded a grant to the University of Chicago to set the foundation for MAPSCorps in New York State, specifically in NYHealth Healthy Neighborhoods Fund sites. In 2016, NYHealth awarded the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center (Mount Sinai), in partnership with MAPSCorps, a grant to create a New York State hub to replicate MAPSCorps.
Under this grant, Mount Sinai established a central location for developing MAPSCorps in our Healthy Neighborhoods Fund sites of Niagara Falls, East Harlem, Brownsville, and Two Bridges, along with the South Bronx grantees of the New York Community Trust’s complementary initiative. Specifically, Mount Sinai conducted all New York State trainings on mapping protocols, technology use, planning and scheduling of daily data collection routes, and delivery of the youth development curriculum. It used a hub-and-spoke model to coordinate logistics with neighborhood host sites and convene all mapping teams. MAPSCorps also worked to obtain additional funding and resources for the project. Through this project, participating Healthy Neighborhoods Fund sites, their network of partners, and neighborhood residents had access to up-to-date information about resources available in their communities.