Building Socially Connected Communities

Rates of social isolation are soaring around the world, with profound impacts on health and wellbeing. As the world heals, how can we weave stronger connections among families, neighborhoods, and communities? We need community-led solutions focused on local talents and assets and rooted in community cultures and values. In this short video, based on "Socially Connected Communities: Solutions for Social Isolation," learn how communities can improve social connection.

Read "Socially Connected Communities: Solutions for Social Isolation" here.

*This video is supported by Cooperative Agreement No. 6 NU38OT000305-02-03 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Department of Health and Human Services or the CDC.

Building Healing Communities

From COVID-19 to social and racial injustices to hurricanes and flooding, our communities have experienced a series of traumas that have strained our mental wellbeing. But across the US, communities are coming together to heal—building systems, understanding, and connections to help us recover and prevent future traumas. In this video, catch a glimpse of what’s happening in San Francisco, St. Louis, and Baltimore. If you want to talk health, you have to talk healing.

For more information, please visit:

Heal SF 

Healing City Baltimore 

St. Louis ReCAST 

* This video is supported by Cooperative Agreement No. 6 NU38OT000305-02-03 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Department of Health and Human Services or the CDC.

Community safety through investing in youth: Harris County youth justice community reinvestment fund

How do you reduce the incarceration and detention of youth of color, lift up their strengths, and make a community safer? In this podcast, Dr. Assata Richards speaks personally and passionately about how the Redefining Youth Justice Coalition successfully advocated for the creation of a Youth Justice Community Reinvestment Fund in Harris County, Texas, comprised of $2 million in funds redirected from juvenile probation and $2 million from the county's General Fund. Dr. Richards uses the metaphor of making a pot of gumbo—layering ingredients and patiently nurturing the pot—to describe how the coalition brought together impacted youth and families and local and national partners to learn, organize, advocate together, and work through tension points with compassion and care. With a commitment to “power with,” not “power over,” they kept a laser focus on their shared vision and created relationships and resources for a continuum of care that is sure to nourish the community. This podcast was made possible with support from The Langeloth Foundation.

#WhyWeCantWait: A New Deal for Youth

In February, a group of young changemakers partnered with CLASP, the Center for Law and Social Policy, to launch #WhyWeCantWait: A New Deal for Youth. A New Deal for Youth calls on leaders in the public and private sectors to support youth-led policy solutions to address the glaring economic and social injustices facing young people today, particularly young people of color. In this podcast, Prevention Institute's Ruben Cantu talks with Dr. Nia West-Bey, a senior policy analyst on CLASP’s youth team, and three New Deal for Youth changemakers—Isabel Coronado of Next100 in New Mexico; Kadesha Mitchell with The Cove/DFZ Adolescent Clubhouse in Maryland; and Connor Kalahiki representing the Center for Native American Youth in Hawaii—about what policies are needed for young people to be able to thrive.

Policy priorities for the Biden/Harris Administration

On January 20, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as the new president and vice president of the United States. During the election, they spoke out forcefully about public health, health equity, and racial justice, but what will they do now that they’re in office? Prevention Institute’s Ruben Cantu and Sana Chehimi discuss what the new administration should prioritize in the first 100 days and in the long-term to promote thriving, equitable communities.

SHOW NOTES: Here is the pre-recorded discussion on Policy & Advocacy to Advance Mental Health and Wellbeing. Here are Prevention Institute's policy priorities, and the executive actions undertaken thus far by the Biden-Harris administration.

*Photo by Steffan Limmen on Instagram

6 Months into the Pandemic: What’s working and what do we still desperately need to do?

Prevention Institute Executive Director Rachel Davis joins women leaders in healthcare, health equity, and public health for a broad-ranging conversation about what we’ve learned six months into the coronavirus pandemic and what we still desperately need to do. The podcast guests discuss topics including inconsistent and inadequate data collection, attacks on public health leaders, and the importance of an equitable recovery. Rachel is joined by Dr. Shari Barkin, the Chief of General Pediatrics at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN and a well-respected community researcher; Dr. Jewel Mullen, the associate dean for health equity at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas in Austin and a previous public health commissioner in Connecticut; and Chrissie Juliano, the executive director of the Big Cities Health Coalition, which is composed of America’s largest metropolitan health departments.

*Photo credit: Satoko Arw

If you want to talk health, you have to talk racial justice

In this short video, Prevention Institute’s deputy executive director, Manal J. Aboelata, introduces the concepts of health equity and racial justice and explains why we can’t achieve health as a nation without taking on structural racism. So many of the unjust and unfair outcomes that we see in communities in terms of health, safety, and wellbeing are connected to racism, discrimination, and other forms of racial injustice. That means we need to engage deeply in work that will close racially unjust gaps in health outcomes in order to achieve health, safety, and wellbeing for our nation as a whole.

Applying a racial justice lens to mental health and wellbeing

In this podcast Sana Chehimi, director of policy and advocacy for Prevention Institute, interviews Isha Weerasinghe, a senior policy analyst on the youth team at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). They discuss the importance of supporting mental health and wellbeing for communities of color to achieve an equitable COVID-19 recovery and as part of dismantling systems that perpetuate structural violence and racism. Isha describes how applying a racial justice lens to center lived experiences and community leadership allows CLASP to broaden the understanding of mental health and wellbeing and develop policy solutions and strategies that are otherwise overlooked.


Read more about CLASP’s work:

Behind the Asterisk*: Perspectives on Young Adult Mental Health from "Small and Hard-to-Reach" Communities…ef/behind-asterisk

Reconnecting, Realizing and Reimagining Justice: Advancing Economic Justice for Individuals and Communities Impacted by the Criminal Justice System…econnectingjustice

“Everybody Got Their Go Throughs”: Young Adults on the Frontlines of Mental Health…-Mental-Health.pdf

Between the Lines: Understanding Our Country’s Racialized Response to the Opioid Overdose Epidemic…ed-response-opioid

Ten Core Competencies for Youth and Young Adult Centered Mental Health Systems…tal-health-systems

Refining Evidence-Based Practices: Expanding Our View of Evidence…-our-view-evidence

Unlocking Transformation and Healing: Overview of Policy Options for Accessible Youth and Young Adult Mental Health Care…options-accessible

Mental and Behavioral Health System Fixes During the COVID-19 Crisis, and Beyond…ovid-19-crisis-and

*Photo credit: Sarah Mittermaier

Ending violence by the police and in the community: calls to action for justice and peace

In this podcast, Prevention Institute’s Lisa Fujie Parks interviews Anthony Smith from Cities United and Cuco Rodriguez from the Hope and Heal Fund about advocating with mayors and school districts to divest from policing and invest in proven public health approaches to community safety, like violence interruption and youth employment opportunities. They highlight the need for cities and philanthropy to invest equitably. and for white-led organizations to act as allies in support of frontline, organizations led by and that support African American communities and other communities of color. These community-based organizations are not only working to stop violence, they are also protecting people from COVID-19, connecting people to food and jobs, and supporting culturally rooted multigenerational healing.

Photo credit: Kiara Thompson, via Instagram

MC:ID How We’re Staying Connected

Making Connections International District—also known as MC:ID—is a youth-led, intergenerational collaborative through which young men of color act as agents of positive change in their community. As life in Albuquerque’s International District shifts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, MC:ID partners have had to find new ways to connect so they can impact decisions about where their community goes from here. Learn more at MC: ID is part of the national Making Connections Initiative, funded by Movember.