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10/20/22 news article

Dayton Children’s Center for Health Equity receives $100,000 state grant to partner with community organizations

Dayton Children’s Hospital’s Center for Health Equity was awarded a $100,000 Ohio Health Improvement Zone (OHIZ) Pilot Project grant from the Ohio Department of Health. This funding is designed to provide funding and fill gaps where communities haven’t had sufficient support or financial assistance in the past. The Center for Health Equity is focused on expanding already existing community initiatives to improve the health behaviors of residents through meaningful community engagement and collaboration within the Ohio Health Improvement Zones.  

Ohio Health Improvement Zones refer to any community with a Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (CDC/ADSTR) Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) score of .75 or higher. The CDC created this SVI score by looking at different factors like housing, access to food, education levels and access to healthcare. The index range is 0 to 1 and those neighborhoods with a score closest to 1 are at higher risk for poor health outcomes.  

The Center for Health Equity has chosen the Burkhardt-Springfield neighborhood just across the Mad River from Dayton Children’s campus because of their SVI scores of .97 and .94 respectively. Community members and partners in the neighborhood describe concerns such as addiction/recovery, human trafficking, food insecurity, lack of positive spaces for children, poor housing, and neighborhood safety.  

Over the next year, Dayton Children’s plan to engage the following community organizations to work on this local investment: Burkhardt-Springfield Neighborhood Association, the City of Dayton, the Dayton Dream Center, With God’s Grace Food Pantry and other community-based organizations and residents. Alongside these already established and active community organizations, the hospital will focus on engaging and assessing the neighborhood to build a foundation for future programming and investment by:  

  • Working with community partners to create a community advisory team (CAT) for the project.  
  • Employing residents to conduct in-person surveys across the community 
  • Producing a community-driven health assessment to support the prioritization of health-related issues and creating an asset map of existing community resources for future community action. 

These efforts are being led by Dr. Shannon E. Nicks, PhD, Associate Director of Health Outcomes Research with significant experience in Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR). 

“The funding we have received allows us to engage with our community partners and the residents who work and live in the neighborhood to assess their current health needs, highlight their community assets, and prioritize areas of focus for future collaborative work. This project is truly representative of the hospital's equity value and community engagement strategy because it elevates community voice and centers it in the decision-making process for the health improvement efforts taking place in this neighborhood." 

about Dayton Children’s Hospital 

One of only 31 independent freestanding children’s hospitals in the country, Dayton Children’s is the region’s only medical facility dedicated to children. Accredited by The Joint Commission and serving 20 Ohio counties and eastern Indiana, the experts at Dayton Children’s care for more than 320,000 children each year. Consistently recognized as one of the country’s best and most cost-effective pediatric hospitals, Dayton Children’s is home to the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics and together with the United States Air Force shares the nation’s only civilian-military integrated pediatric training program. For more children’s health and safety information, visit our web site at

Shannon Nicks, PhD, MPH

Associate Director of Health Outcomes Research
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