Toledo’s Ebeid Neighborhood Promise uses Community Development Strategy to Improve Health Outcomes

By Maria Walliser-Wejebe, GOPC Project Associate

Your zip code should never determine your prospects in life. This is the philosophy at the center of the Ebeid Neighborhood Promise in the UpTown neighborhood of Toledo, a ProMedica led, 10 year, $50M place based initiative to address social determinants of health. ProMedica is a nonprofit healthcare system headquartered in Toledo, with locations in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan, who has partnered with LISC-Toledo and the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo to improve social health outcomes in the UpTown neighborhood.

ProMedica has been screening and studying the impact of social needs on the health of its patients, finding that financial strain, employment, behavioral health, and access to healthy food are among the most critical indicators. Social determinants of health are impacted by lifestyle, environmental, and socioeconomic factors, like education, job status, income, and community safety, and are responsible for up to 80% of personal health outcomes. ProMedica’s focus on UpTown is a strategic one: half of area residents live below the poverty line, 30 percent of residents are unemployed, and more than a quarter have not finished high school [i]. As an anchor institution, it also serves as a catalyst for community collaboration and economic development, including ensuring that area neighborhoods thrive [ii]. Investments in the neighborhood started with the opening of the Ebeid Institute for Population Health and the Market on the Green, a nonprofit grocery store providing UpTown residents with healthy, quality and affordable food. Market employees are all part of the Ebeid job training program, which focuses on increasing employment opportunities for individuals that live within one mile of the store and experience some sort of barrier to employment. Additionally, last November, ProMedica received a $500,000 donation from KeyBank to help with financial opportunity coaching through the Ebeid Institute. The concentration of ProMedica resources around health food education, financial literacy, and job training aims to improve area health outcomes by partnering with the community.

Building on this momentum, ProMedica, LISC-Toledo, and the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo have formed a catalytic and unique partnership that is creating a place based, health focused community development model utilizing creative placemaking to garner stakeholder input and develop resident leaders in the areas of health, workforce/income, housing, safety, education, economic development, transportation and neighborhood stabilization. The partnership is working in the areas of clinical integration/health equity and data analytics and research to support the notion that community development investments are a proven tool to positively impact health outcomes and improve quality of life.