HRI Community Advisory Board member, Dr. Amelia Averyt spoke to us about the importance of the health and wellness needs of the at-risk areas in the Third Ward and what sources are needed in that community during COVID-19.

Can you tell me a little about the Third Ward Health Collaborative and specifically the Third Ward (Health & Wellness) sector, your role, and the biggest impact you feel your organization makes? 


As co-chair of the Third Ward Health and Wellness committee, my role is to understand the healthcare landscape of Third Ward. This includes healthcare institutions but also community factors that influence health and wellness, the social/political determinants of health. Our organization has the unique opportunity to amplify the voices of community residents to city officials. We work within the guidance of an Action Plan that was created with community input so that we loyal to community-identified strengths, resources, and needs. 



What kind of assistance does the Third Ward Health Collaborative -Third Ward (Health & Wellness) currently need? Are there any volunteer opportunities available? 


The Third Ward Health & Wellness committee is always looking for opportunities for direct community member engagement. As we work consistently with neighborhood stakeholders, we also want to make sure we stay open to and inclusive of residents. We designed a new collaborative, the Third Ward Health Collaborative, to help bring community stakeholders together to provide resources to community-based health initiatives. We are always open to volunteers interested in opportunities to provide direct service to residents, throughout connection with community based organizations that provide direct client services, but also volunteers with interest in organization and communication to help facilitate collaboration among the many resources within Third Ward. 


What is the next project for Third Ward Health Collaborative -Third Ward (Health & Wellness)?  


We are currently working on a Food Sustainability project. We have developed a framework for helping residents of Third Ward gain access to healthy food, as well as move towards food independence. We are currently engaging community stakeholders (residents, CBO’s, grocers and gardens, and academic institutions) to develop a landscape analysis of food distribution and access in Third Ward, and will then use it to inform interventions that will improve consistency, sustainability, and more important, residents having access to healthy food. 


As social injustice is directly correlated to health and wellness, how does the Third Ward Health Collaborative -Third Ward (Health & Wellness) tie in current events to programming?  


We are working with our Third Ward Health Collaborative to develop a series of virtual forums, or community conversations, “Tre Talks” that can be used as a platform for residents and stakeholders to address the role of ongoing racial, political, economic injustice on the community’s health. In addition, we are always looking for opportunities to work with other work groups addressing issues affecting political determinants of health (housing, economics, etc…). 


What resources and messaging does the Third Ward Health Collaborative -Third Ward (Health & Wellness) sending to the community members regarding COVID-19? 


The Health and Wellness committee has helped in supply drives for at-risk areas in Third Ward, such as Cuney Homes. We helped develop informational materials regarding COVID-19 and organize the distribution of personal protective gear and cleaning supplies to residents of this housing development, in collaboration with other CBOs (NEO, civic clubs, Blodgett Urban Gardens). 



How can people keep up to date with the Third Ward Health Collaborative -Third Ward (Health & Wellness) news and events? 


The best way to stay up to date would be to send us an email to get on our listserv!



Third Ward Health