The Community Health Pipeline, a research and outreach program led by Noel Kulik, Ph.D., CHES, received funding from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund for a second year. The award is worth $262,784.
“We are thrilled to learn that the Michigan Health Endowment Fund has continued to invest in our food justice and food access work with youth in the community,” said Kulik, who is an assistant professor in the Division of Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies (KHS) at Wayne State’s College of Education. “The funding for year two will allow us to expand our program reach to include all youth in the city of Detroit, strengthen our relationships with current partners and help us broaden our relationships to include the HUDA Clinic, Generation with Promise, Project Healthy Community, and University of Detroit Mercy’s chapter of Campus Kitchen.”
Kulik’s project will continue to support Detroit high school students as they become agents of change in the areas of food systems, health equity and food access. The Community Health Pipeline includes five pillars — education, experience, apprenticeships, leadership and career development — that build upon each other. Participants learn about making healthy food choices and apply their knowledge by purchasing local produce at farmers markets. Later, they complete paid internships related to food production, handling and marketing; community engagement; nutrition education; and programs supporting food security. During the fifth pillar, Wayne State University students mentor the youth as they identify a food-related health issue in their community and design community health interventions. By the time they have completed the project, the high school students have a better understanding of community health careers and the college application process.
In its second year, the Community Health Pipeline has partnered with Connect Detroit’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program and the Detroit Health Department to create the first food and nutrition track for youth employment within the city. This collaboration will provide paid training to approximately 150 Detroit high school students for seven weeks in July and August. Opportunities for youth include growing, harvesting and selling produce at Drew Farm; providing support through healthy cooking demonstrations and education via farmers markets at Wayne State University, Sowing Seeds Growing Futures, Community Health and Social Services Center, The Henry Ford, Banglatown and Eastern Market; promoting Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks program; providing enrichment activities at United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s Meet Up and Eat Up sites; and more. The Community Health Pipeline will also expand education initiatives and include social entrepreneurship, skill development and community health career exposure to engage youth and encourage community economic development.
For the Community Health Pipeline, Kulik works with Nate McCaughtry, Ph.D., director of the Center for Health and Community Impact and professor and assistant dean of the KHS, along with KHS assistant professors Rachael Dombrowski, Ph.D., and Whitney Moore, Ph.D.
“I am excited about the success the Community Health Pipeline had in its first year,” said McCaughtry. “I am looking forward to its expansion this year to reach more youth with college access and career-training, and to collaborate with additional food-system organizations throughout the city.”
Last year, the Community Health Pipeline reached an estimated 4,600 students through its nutrition education and experience at Detroit farmers markets and urban farms. In October 2017, the Community Health Pipeline launched a college and career readiness program to provide high school students information on how to apply to college, FAFSA, and scholarships. The two finalist teams presented their work at the Detroit Food Policy Council conference in March 2018.
About the Center for Health and Community Impact
The mission of the Center for Health and Community Impact is to improve community health and vitality through leadership and advancement of research, programs and policies for healthy living. The Center works with community partners to develop and lead culturally relevant, evidence-based and sustainable programs that transform the heathy living opportunities for families, neighborhoods and organizations to promote a holistic approach to health and social equity across the lifespan. Through its efforts, educators, clinicians, practitioners, evaluators, researchers and community leaders at Wayne State University advance health and social equity at local, regional and national levels. The center’s programs have directly impacted more than 150,000 youth and families and 500 educators and health practitioners across 350 community organizations. For more information, visit coe.wayne.edu/centerforhealthandcommunityimpact.
About the College of Education
For more than a century, the Wayne State University College of Education has prepared effective urban educators who are reflective, innovative and committed to diversity. Its Teacher Education Division boasts one of the most comprehensive, well-established programs in the country, and all four academic divisions offer a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in nearly 30 program areas, including learning design and technology, leadership and policy, kinesiology, sport administration, education evaluation and research, health education and educational psychology, and counseling. To learn more, visit coe.wayne.edu.
About Wayne State University
Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution of higher education offering nearly 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 27,000 students. For more information, visit wayne.edu.
About the Michigan Health Endowment Fund
The Michigan Health Endowment Fund works to improve the health and wellness of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of healthcare, with a special focus on children and seniors. More information about the Michigan Health Endowment Fund can be found at mhealthfund.com.
About the Michigan Fitness Foundation
The Michigan Fitness Foundation strives to cultivate a culture of health to transform the status quo and improve the health of all Michiganders. Its mission is to inspire active lifestyles and healthy food choices in the places we live, work and play. The Michigan Fitness Foundation focuses on increasing access to healthy food and low-cost physical activity opportunities, expanding nutrition and physical education, and shaping places to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Learn more at michiganfitness.org.
About Connect Detroit and Grow Detroit’s Young Talent
Founded in 2001 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization under the name City Connect Detroit by local foundation and civic leaders, Connect Detroit today helps Detroit-area nonprofit organizations and governments work together to solve local problems. This organization mobilizes much-needed funding so these groups and its constituents can be empowered to reach common goals for the greater good of the community. Connect Detroit has tackled and continues to pursue collaboration opportunities surrounding a variety of issues affecting children, youth and families. The nonprofit has been instrumental in creating platforms and partnerships for community health and community development initiatives, too. To date, the organization has managed and led more than four-dozen community change initiatives and mobilized more than $140 million in support of this work. Several Connect Detroit-driven initiatives became self-sustaining and grew into standalone initiatives outside of Connect Detroit. For more information, go to connectdetroit.org.