Joint Center Health Policy Institute


Promise Zones: Rebuilding Communities for Health Equity
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 | 1:00 PM to 2:15 PM Pacific

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies/Joint Center Health Policy Institute

Joint Center Health Policy Institute Logo

A child’s zip code should never determine his or her destiny. But today, the neighborhood a child grows up in impacts his or her odds of graduating high school, being in good health, and having economic opportunities over a lifetime. Since 2009, the President has provided proven tools to combat poverty, investing more than $350 million in 100 of the nation’s persistent pockets of poverty.

Building on those efforts is the Promise Zones initiative. The federal government will partner with and invest in communities to create jobs, leverage private investment, increase economic activity, expand educational opportunities, and improve public safety. The Obama Administration will designate 20 communities over the next four years – including five this year – with an intensive and layered approach to revitalizing communities.

In this Web Forum, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and PolicyLink will discuss their partnership to raise public awareness about this promising new initiative and lay the framework on how community revitalization can promote health equity.
During this webinar, presenters will::

  • Inform communities and stakeholder organizations across the country about the Administration’s Promise Zones initiative to increase knowledge of and support for the initiative;
  • Help frame this work within the larger health equity movement; and
  • Explain why PolicyLink and Joint Center are involved in this effort





    Judith Bell, MPA
    Oakland, CA

    Judith Bell, MPAJudith Bell is the president at PolicyLink where she has been since its founding in 1999. Under her central leadership, PolicyLink has developed into a national voice for access and opportunity for all people particularly low-income people and communities of color. Bell oversees efforts to develop and advocate for an array of equitable policies, including those focused on improving health and infrastructure. She has led PolicyLink efforts to improve access to healthy food at the local and state levels including work with the Obama administration and Congress to launch a national Healthy Food Financing Initiative, providing $477 million to improve access to healthy food in low-income communities across the country. She leads PolicyLink efforts with the Convergence Partnership, a collaboration of eight major foundations and healthcare institutions focused on achieving healthy people in healthy places. In addition, Bell helped create the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink, an independent, nonprofit resource for communities engaged with the federal Promise Neighborhoods program. She continues to engage in efforts to advance equity at the national, state, and local levels and is also a regular speaker, trainer, and media voice on these issues. Prior to joining PolicyLink, Bell was director of the West Coast Regional Office of Consumers Union, where she developed a 32 state effort that preserved more than $14 billion in charitable assets as nonprofit institutions became for-profit, and advocated on a range of policies impacting low income consumers. (

    Autumn Saxton-Ross, PhD
    Program Director
    Health Policy Institute
    Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
    Washington, DC

    Autumn Saxton-Ross, PhD, is a resident of the District of Columbia and is currently the Program Director for the Health Policy Institute at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. With degrees in sociology, health education, and exercise science, her research, academic and professional interests are on the social and physical environment and their influences on health behaviors, specifically in Black and urban populations, and the health benefits of parks and green spaces. Her life’s work is improving the health of communities through engagement, activity, education, exposure and opportunity, truly believing that a healthy life is lived better outdoors. ( and

    Robert Sampson, PhD
    Henry Ford II Professor
    Social Sciences
    Harvard University
    Boston Area Research Initiative
    Cambridge, MA

    Robert Sampson, PhDRobert J. Sampson is the Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University. He taught at the University of Chicago for twelve years before joining the Harvard faculty in 2003. Former President of the American Society of Criminology, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. In 2011, he received the Stockholm Prize in Criminology. Professor Sampson’s research focuses on crime, urban inequality, the life course, neighborhood effects, civic engagement, and the social structure of the contemporary city. The paperback edition of his most recent book—Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect—was published in June 2013 by the University of Chicago Press. ( and

    Luke Tate
    Senior Policy Advisor
    White House Domestic Policy Council
    Washington, DC

    Luke Tate serves as Senior Policy Advisor on the Urban Affairs and Economic Mobility team at the White House Domestic Policy Council. Luke works primarily on urban policy, neighborhood revitalization, economic development, homelessness, housing, and housing finance, including leading the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative and Rental Policy Working Group. He previously served at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as Senior Advisor for Urban Policy, and as Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. At HUD he helped develop Choice Neighborhoods, a revitalization tool for high-poverty neighborhoods, and the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, to help regions meet their housing, transportation, environmental, and economic goals. Luke was a member of the Presidential Transition team. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, he did community development and educational work in Nicaragua, and worked on community policy in the Office of the Governor of Arizona. He grew up in central Phoenix, Arizona and is a graduate of Harvard University. (


    Brian D. Smedley, PhD
    Vice President and Director
    Health Policy Institute
    Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
    Washington, DC

    Brian D. Smedley, PhD Brian Smedley is Vice President and Director of the Health Policy Institute of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, DC. Formerly, Smedley was Research Director and co-founder of a communications, research and policy organization, The Opportunity Agenda (, which seeks to build the national will to expand opportunity for all. Prior to helping launch The Opportunity Agenda, Smedley was a Senior Program Officer in the Division of Health Sciences Policy of the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Smedley came to the IOM from the American Psychological Association, where he worked on a wide range of social, health, and education policy topics in his capacity as Director for Public Interest Policy. (


The following documents are PDF versions of the speakers’ presentations and are intended to be used for reference only.

Webinar Slides: Implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for Health Inequities

Promise Zones: Rebuilding Communities for Health Equity


The organizations listed below have come together to sponsor this important effort:

PolicyLink Logo Joint Center Health Policy Institute Logo


Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Joint Center Health Policy Institute

Return to Joint Center Home Page