Health Equity Zones

Working together to invest in local communities

November 19, 2018 Update



Share Your Favorites!

Did you know that reading on grade level by third grade is the leading indicator of high school graduation? Join the RI Children's Cabinet and our partners in promoting early childhood literacy and putting students on an early path to success. During the week of November 26, share your favorite childhood books on social media using the hashtag #RIReads! Consider posting the Share Your Favorites flyers (English | Spanish) in your local school, library, or community bulletin board to help spread the word!

HealthSource RI Enrollment Now Open!

Enrollment events will be held in locations around the state, including an enrollment fair on December 11. You can enroll in health insurance or renew your coverage for 2019. For a complete calendar of in-person enrollment events, visit the HealthSource RI (HSRI) website.

You can get help signing up for health insurance in the following ways:

Navigators/Certified application counselors: Navigators and certified application counselors are trained to help you sign up or renew your health insurance. Call 2-1-1- to find in-person assistance near you.

The HealthSource RI Contact Center: The Center can help you over the phone or in person.
  • Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Call: 1-855-840-4774
  • Visit: 401 Wampanoag Trail, East Providence, RI 02915

Heating Assistance: LIHEAP Program

The Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps households pay for their heating and energy bills. People who received LIHEAP last year should already have received a renewal application in the mail and will receive their confirmation letters beginning November 1.

People who want to apply for the first time need to make an appointment with their local Community Action Program. To learn more about this program, please visit the LIHEAP Guide Page.

Public Charge Proposed Rule

Recently, the Department of Homeland Security posted proposed changes to the “public charge” rule in the Federal Register. Public charge is an element of immigration law that allows federal authorities to deny legal status to individuals who are determined to be primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. Public comments on the rule are being accepted until December 10, 2018.

The rule change, if enacted, would redefine public charge in a way that would allow immigration officials to deny legal status to individuals who use one or more public benefits not previously considered in a public charge determination, such as enrollment in Medicaid, receipt of subsidies to help afford Medicare Part D, or receipt of assistance with housing or food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 

The Rhode Island Department of Health strongly opposes this proposed rule, which threatens to seriously undermine the health and well-being of immigrant communities in Rhode Island and the US. Learn more and take action.

Funding Opportunities

America's Healthy Food Financing Initiative

Reinvestment Fund is inviting applications for financial and technical assistance through the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) inaugural grants program. Financial resources and expertise is being offered to eligible healthy food retail projects to expand access to healthy foods in underserved areas, to create and preserve quality jobs, and to revitalize low-income communities.

To be eligible for assistance, healthy food retail projects must: 1) plan to expand or preserve the availability of staple and perishable foods in underserved areas with low and moderate-income populations; and 2) accept or plan to accept benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The deadline for applications is February 14, 2019. Reinvestment Fund will hold webinars on December 13, 2018 at 2 p.m. ET and January 8, 2019 at 12 p.m. ET to confirm details about the application process and answer questions. Registration for the webinars is required. Learn more and apply.

Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities Grant

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is excited to announce another round of the Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities technical assistance and grant program. This program will provide tailored technical assistance for eleven communities to develop Safe Routes to Parks action plans and awards of $12,500 to each community to begin implementation of those plans. Grantee communities will work closely with staff at the Safe Routes to School National Partnership from February through September 2019 to develop action plans aimed at improving safe, equitable access to local parks in their communities. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on December 10, 2018. View and complete the application.


Health in all Policies Lead Mini Grant

The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), in collaboration with the National Environmental Health Association, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials are offering a new funding opportunity for local governmental agencies housing their jurisdiction's childhood lead prevention programs. The funding will support their agency to implement a Health in All Policies strategy as part of their lead prevention implementation program and activities.

Up to three entities will be awarded a maximum of $20,000 each, as well as technical assistance from the national partners along the way. Online applications must be submitted by December 13, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. Awardees will be notified via email by January 4, 2019. Applicants not selected to receive an award will be notified via email by January 11, 2019.

You can access the application hereFor more information about the project, contact Laura Fudala, Jo Miller, or NCHH (410-992-0712). As inquiries are received and answered, frequently asked questions will be posted for public reference here.

Upcoming Events

15 Years of Making Connections: GCRI Annual Meeting

9:30 - 11:30 a.m.
November 27
Southside Cultural Center
393 Broad St, Providence

Please join the Rhode Island Grantmakers Council (GCRI) for their annual meeting, where they will work to forge partnerships to address Rhode Island’s challenges. Dan Cardinali, President and CEO of Independent Sector, will join the meeting as a guest speaker. Register here.

Rhode Island Public Health Association Annual Meeting

5:30 - 7:45 p.m.
November 27
University of Rhode Island, Memorial Union
50 Lower College Road, Kingston

Join the Rhode Island Public Health Association (RIPHA) for their 21st Annual Meeting! Before the official meeting, there will be a student forum from 4:30-5:30 on “Student Organizing for RIPHA Success”. The keynote for the event is “Brain Health: A Public Health Imperative. What We Know and What We Can Do”, which will be presented by William Renehan and Catherine Taylor from the George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience. Standard registration is $40, registration plus 1 hour of continuing education credit is $50, and student registration is $25. Register and pay.  Reservations and payments must be received by Tuesday, November 20. For additional information, please email

Making Transit-Oriented Development a Reality

2 - 3:30 p.m.
December 5
Warwick Public Library
600 Sandy Lane, Warwick

Join GrowSmartRI for a free workshop that will explore the potential for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) in communities across Rhode Island, as well as current projects fitting this description and efforts coordinated by the State to encourage and support various types of TOD projects. Importantly, this workshop will attempt to demystify TOD, deliver tools to make its implementation easier on municipalities, and highlight the social and environmental issues TOD addresses. Register here.


Increasing Community Resiliency as Planning/Zoning Officials

5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
December 6
East Providence Public Library
41 Grove Avenue, East Providence

Join GrowSmartRI for a free workshop that will present information about the effect of flooding and sea-level rise on land use and transportation systems through existing resources like PREP-RI videos, and online studies and reports to inform decision makers and help to meet this requirement. Register here.


Thank you to all Health Equity Zone Collaborative members who attended our Learning Community Event on November 8! We look forward to sharing information about the next Learning Community event with you soon.


Age Friendly RI has a new “RI Healthy Aging Calendar” that features events to promote healthy aging in Rhode Island. To submit an event for publication in the calendar, please visit this site.  If you have any questions, please contact Jody Shue. offers the public, policymakers, and healthcare providers a user-friendly way to learn about resources related to overdose and opioid use disorder. 

The Prevention Institute provides tools that allow community members to make more equitable communities through prevention-based initiatives and frameworks.

Rhode Island 2-1-1 is a free, confidential service that provides information and referrals. They help by connecting you with agencies and trained specialists who offer support and answers at every level. They are available to talk or chat live, every day of the year. The call is free and available in multiple languages. You can call 2-1-1 directly, use online chat, text, or use this website for a web search. 2-1-1 also provides walk-in services at their office in the Olneyville neighborhood, at 50 Valley Street, Providence.

The Grantmakers Council of Rhode Island sends out a newsletter to nonprofits, called GCRI Connect, which provides information on Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and opportunities from GCRI members, professional development trainings, and resources available to nonprofits.  Any nonprofit staff member can sign up by sending an email to Nancy Northrop Wolanski.

Health Equity in the News

BH Link offers 24/7 response to mental health, drug abuse, Warwick Beacon, November 13, 2018

Local Angle: A Community Foundation Making a Big Push for Health Equity in a Small State, Inside Philanthropy
, October 26, 2018

We want to hear from you!

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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