NOVEMBER 2019: Rhode Island Life Index, Housing Summit, and more!

Awards for Outstanding Fluoridation Efforts

Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognize water systems that achieve optimal fluoridation levels for all 12 months with their annual Quality Award.  Three Health Equity Zone communities - Pawtucket, Providence, and Newport - will be presented with Quality Awards at the Rhode Island Water Workers Association (RIWWA) quarterly meeting in December.  

Stories From the Flood

The Central Providence Health Equity Zone recently conducted a climate change resiliency assessment in the Olneyville neighborhood.  Olneyville has a history of environmental injustice and natural disaster, both centered on the Woonasquatucket River that creates the southern border of the neighborhood.  Although the river is primarily an asset to the community, its presence has and continues to provide a set of unique challenges for the neighborhood.

The most recent and extreme example is from March 2010, when extensive flooding took place due to higher than average rainfall.  Flooding is all too familiar to the Olneyville neighborhood, where rain frequently impedes local street traffic.  

To highlight some of the stories from the neighborhood, the Central Providence HEZ decided to create a short video about the 2010 flood in order to increase personal connection to natural disasters such as flooding, and increase Olneyville resident motivation to prepare for natural disasters.   



Rhode Island Life Index

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) set out to create a “life index,” armed with a growing body of evidence that ZIP code is more important than genetic code when it comes to health outcomes and overall well-being. Where people are born and live in Rhode Island has a profound impact on their lives.

BCBSRI conducted a survey of Rhode Islanders’ perceptions of social determinants of health and well-being as an initial step to inform future community investments and philanthropy. Based on interviews conducted with more than 2,200 Rhode Islanders about life factors influencing health and well-being in the state, the Rhode Island Life Index offers a unique window into what state residents see as community strengths and those they believe to be significant challenges.

It's Ok Not To Be Ok

The State will be launching a campaign next month in partnership with the Rhode Island Broadcasters Association (RIBA) – It’s OK Not To Be OK.  This long-term public awareness campaign seeks to change attitudes towards mental illness and substance use disorder in Rhode Island.  This campaign will reach an audience of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds.

Check out the initial promo for the campaign here.

The campaign will officially launch in early December with promotion from the member stations of the RIBA leading up to the in-kind broadcast special to air in unity on Saturday, December 14, 2019 on WJAR-NBC10 / WPRI-FOX PROVIDENCE / ABC6-WLNE-TV, RI PBS and IHEART Media Radio.
The stations will roadblock programming to simultaneously air the It's OK Not To Be OK special from 7:30 p.m. - 8 p.m and continue the conversation on RI PBS from 8 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.   All RIBA member radio and television stations within Rhode Island will be supporting and promoting this event on-air and through social media prior to the broadcast event.

Here’s how you can help!

  1. Learn more about the campaign at the HEZ Learning Community on  December 9, 2019.
  2. Watch the broadcast special on December 14, 2019 and encourage your family and friends to watch as well.
    1. Invite your friends over for a small watch party.
    2. Host a larger watch party within your HEZ and include a discussion on this topic before or after the event.  Contact Mia Patriarca if you plan to do this so we can support your efforts.
    3. Live tweet throughout the broadcast special using the hashtag #ItsOkNotToBeOk.
    4. Share your story on social media and with others so they seek treatment and know, it’s ok not to be ok.
  3. Continue to engage this December and beyond – there will be social media content to share and other opportunities to support.

Please contact Ashley O’Shea, Director of Community Investments at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and your HEZ project officer with any questions.


RI Tobacco Free Teen Alliance Mini-Grants

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) Tobacco Control Program (RITCP) invites applications from not-for-profit grassroots organizations, agencies, coalitions, schools, and organizations with existing high school-age programs for teens (ages 13-17) to become a member of the Rhode Island Tobacco Free Teen Alliance movement by participating in two large-scale educational events and capacity-building opportunities that raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco/nicotine use.

Up to eight mini-grants will be awarded for up to $1,500 each. Applications are due by December 13, 2019 at 4 p.m.  For more information or to apply, review the request for proposals

RI Tobacco Free Parks Mini-Grants

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) Tobacco Control Program (RITCP) seeks to increase community partnerships to expand the number of 100% tobacco-free parks. Eligible applicants must be affiliated with, or a part of, a not-for-profit and/or a local municipal parks and recreational organization not currently receiving funds from RIDOH or the RITCP to do similar work.

Three mini-grants will be awarded for up to $3,000 each.  Applications are due by December 13, 2019 at 4 p.m.  For more information or to apply, review the request for proposals


Social Enterprise Greenhouse 2019 Health & Wellness Accelerator Graduation and Pitch Night

Join Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) for a celebration as the graduates of its 2019 Health & Wellness Accelerator complete their three-month business development journey and pitch their social ventures to an audience.

The purpose of the SEG Health & Wellness Accelerator is to help create more successful, sustainable, “do well do good” businesses, leading to healthier communities for all. It features a 12-week blended learning experience that provides social entrepreneurs with the tools, networks, and resources to further validate their venture, understand their customer, and formalize growth strategies from fundraising to social impact measurement. Additional value is provided by one-on-one business coaching, a peer cohort model, and access to SEG’s coworking space. The 2019 Health & Wellness Accelerator started in September and will graduate a cohort of 12 social ventures.

Food and beverages will be served, and the event is free and open to all.

WHERE:                                                            WHEN:         
SEG Hub                                                           Thursday, December 5, 2019
10 Davol Square, Suite #100                            6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. 
Providence, Rhode Island 02903                                         
register here

"END IT!" by Rhode Island College Dance Company

The Rhode Island College (RIC) Dance Company invites you to attend “END IT!”, a one-hour evening performance highlighting the prevalent issue of human trafficking.
The Polaris Project describes human trafficking as the business of stealing freedom for profit. As many as 24.9 million people around the world have been manipulated, threatened, or physically forced into providing commercial sex, or otherwise work under inhumane, illegal conditions. This multi-billion dollar criminal industry has a presence across the United States and right here in Rhode Island, where the National Human Trafficking Hotline reports 18 cases of human trafficking in 2019 alone.


The show is suitable for students of high school-age and older. While there are no explicit sexual references in the show, the words 'rape' and 'abuse' are used throughout. The show is not explicit, but rather suggestive, in portrayal of physical abuse.
Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door: $15 for general admission and $5 for student admission. For more information, please call the RIC box office at 401-456-8144.

WHERE:                                                            WHEN:         
Forman Theater                                                 Friday, December 6, 2019 or
Rhode Island College                                        Saturday, December 7, 2019
600 Mount Pleasant Avenue                              7:30 p.m.             
Providence, Rhode Island 02908                       
buy tickets online

HEZ Learning Community

Please join us for an exciting day of training and peer learning at the next Health Equity Zone (HEZ) Learning Community.  A light breakfast and healthy lunch will be served.

During the Learning Community, you will have the opportunity to:
  • Hear from Assistant Secretary for Health and Medicaid Director Patrick Tigue and his team about how Medicaid in Rhode Island is partnering with healthcare and community-based organizations to build healthy and resilient communities.
  • Enhance your understanding of racial inequity through the Racial Equity Institute’s innovative Groundwater Presentation. This session will incorporate interactive small group work to encourage participant engagement with fellow HEZ collaborative members to interpret this information and develop action steps to bring vital change to your communities. 
If you are have any questions regarding this event, please contact Morgan Duffney.  We look forward to seeing you in December!
WHERE:                                                            WHEN:         
Crowne Plaza                                                 Monday, December 9, 2019
801 Greenwich Avenue                                  9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m 
Warwick, RI 02886                                                           
register here

Homes RI Network Summit

A safe, healthy, and affordable home is the bedrock of neighborhoods and Rhode Island. Sadly, with some of the highest housing costs and some of the lowest housing building rates in the country, too many Rhode Islanders are left struggling to find an affordable place to live.

With not enough available homes, individuals and families in nearly every city and town in Rhode Island simply cannot find a home they can afford while also making ends meet.

The aim of the Homes RI Network Summit is to create a space that invites innovation, collaboration, and capacity-building among organizations that are interested in driving change to increase investments and accessibility of safe, healthy, and affordable homes. 

WHERE:                                                            WHEN:         
Rhode Island College                                        Wednesday, December 11, 2019
600 Mount Pleasant Avenue                              8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.             
Providence, Rhode Island 02908                       
register here

Project BREAK

Project BREAK provides evidence-based outpatient counseling services to address co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. The program is focused on addressing methamphetamine use among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.

Services are for any eligible client interested in reducing, cutting down, or "taking a break" from their substance use. Clients who are enrolled in the program can expect to meet with a therapist approximately once a week. Treatment plans are client-centered and focus on individual goals with regards to reducing or discontinuing substance use.

The program is committed to providing a high level of care for sexual and gender minorities as well as racial/ethnic minorities and is particularly mindful of the unique sociocultural and structural barriers these communities face in receiving mental health and substance use treatment.

There is no cost for this program.  For questions or to make an intake appointment, contact Sabrina Strong at the Miriam Hospital Immunology Center

2019 Housing Fact Book

Each year, HousingWorks RI’s Housing Fact Book reviews persistent affordability issues that exist across Rhode Island. Creating quality housing solutions that are affordable to a majority of Rhode Islanders involves balancing competing private interests with public resources and mechanisms.

This year, the Housing Fact Book starts its analysis at the state level and moves to the regional level. Regional thinking takes into account important details of our state’s geography, such as the location of water and sewer infrastructure, possible transit linkages, and more. Following the regional analysis, the municipal pages have added information regarding each municipality’s context for development, which includes references to infrastructure, zoning, and the most common housing strategies as included in each comprehensive plan.

There is growing urgency across the United States and within Rhode Island regarding housing affordability. Households reflecting many different sizes, relationships, ages, and incomes all face decisions—sometimes in a daily way—about how to afford where they live and the outcomes those decisions create for them.

Rhode Islanders Report Housing, Jobs, As Most Pressing Challenges | Brown Daily Herald, November 19, 2019

Many Native Americans Can't Get Clean Water, Report Finds | NPR, November 18, 2019

Is Rhode Island Ready For the Census? | Rhode Island Monthly, November 14, 2019

Raimondo Vows To Boost Housing Supply In RI | Providence Journal, November 14, 2019

The Climate Crisis Is a Public Health Emergency, New Report Warns | Huffington Post, November 13, 2019

Changing the Lexicon, Practice Of Recovery Housing In RI | ConvergenceRI, November 11, 2019

Diesel Bus Emissions Impairing R.I.'s Air Quality | EcoRI News, November 10, 2019

Governor Signs Bill For LGBTQ Veterans Dishonorably Discharged to Get Benefits | ABC6, November 8, 2019

CDC: Childhood Trauma Is a Public Health Issue and We Can Do More To Prevent It | NPR, November 5, 2019

Intersection Of Schools and Highways Produces Bad Air | EcoRI News, November 3, 2019

Our Turn: Joe DiBenedetto and Jack Ghublikian: Let's Expand Health Care To All Gradually | Providence Journal, November 4, 2019

1 In 3 RI Households Are Facing Housing Cost Crisis | ConvergenceRI, November 4, 2019

Farmworkers Face Daunting Health Risks In California's Wildfires | NPR, October 28, 2019

Green Spaces Can Encourage Social Connectedness In Cities | Build Healthy Places Network, October 25, 2019


Let's work together to raise awareness of the exciting work happening across Rhode Island's Health Equity Zones. Reach out to RIDOH's HEZ Communications Lead to share:
  • News and upcoming events related to your Health Equity Zone.
  • Feedback on how we can strengthen our communications.
  • Plans for developing communications materials or holding public events.
Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), 3 Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908
Health Information Line: 401-222-5960 / RI Relay 711

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