Philadelphia

Coalition Members Featured at Drexel University Urban Health Symposium, “Reimagining Health in Cities: From Local to Global"

On Sept. 7 and 8, 2017, the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative hosted the second Urban Health Symposium, “Reimagining Health in Cities: From Local to Global.” The event — which was held at the Dornsife School of Public Health — drew around 300 researchers, practitioners and policymakers from a variety of organizations and educational institutions. The Symposium featured two jam-packed days of inspiring speakers, poster presentations, and global networking opportunities. 

Highlights included a lively session with U.S. health leaders; an innovative session on novel uses of data; and a keynote address from Mindy Fullilove, MD, Professor at the Parsons School of Design, The New School. 

In addition to the informative and insightful sessions, the Symposium also featured over 60 posters, covering a broad range of research topics related to urban health. Selected posters were displayed for five categories: novel urban health research methods; built environment and climate change; health disparities and special populations; program and policies to improve health in cities; and addressing urban challenges, health behaviors and mental health. Thank you to all of our poster presenters and attendees! 

If you missed a session, or perhaps you’d like to re-live the Urban Health Symposium, check out our YouTube playlist to watch the sessions.

PHILADELPHIA. Mayor wants all landlords with pre-1978 housing to prove rentals are safe from lead. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

By Barbara Laker & Wendy Ruderman 

The current law, passed in 2012, requires landlords to certify their rentals as lead-safe only if they rent to families with children who are 6 and younger.

But landlords largely have ignored the law, and the city has failed to hold them to account, an Inquirer and Daily News investigation found last October as part of the “Toxic City” series.

Shortly thereafter, Kenney formed the Philadelphia Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Advisory Group to find ways to reduce the numbers of children exposed to lead.

On Tuesday, Kenney and other city officials released the group’s report, which also recommended that the city financially help owners remove lead paint from their homes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says public health and pediatricians should intervene when children have a blood lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter. The Health Department investigates only when a child hits a level of 10.

Last year, 341 children tested had a blood lead level above 10 — a new low, City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said.

“We’ve made an awful lot of progress in lead over the years, but we still have far too many children who are being exposed to lead,” Farley said Tuesday. “This report represents a shift towards primary prevention, preventing kids from having exposure to lead in the first place, rather than just testing them and finding out later on.”

The city said it had struggled to enforce the current law because it was difficult to discern which rentals had young children. With an all-inclusive law, the city could deny a rental license to those landlords who don’t certify their rentals as lead-safe.

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PHILADELPHIA. 'Heroin in pill form': Philly targets prescription painkillers to curtail fatal ODs

By Sam Wood

There were 907 fatal overdoses in Philadelphia last year. Opioids — heroin and prescription painkillers — were implicated in 729 of them. 

Many of those killed by heroin began their addictions with prescription opioids, so the city is launching a TV and social media campaign labeling legal painkillers as “heroin in pill form.” The aim of the $182,000 campaign, announced by the Health Department Monday at City Hall, is to save lives.

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PHILADELPHIA. Philly Wants To Tax Soda To Raise Money For Schools (National Public Radio)

Philadelphia's new mayor wants to do something few American cities have done: pass a tax on soda and other sugary drinks.

So far, Berkeley, Calif., has been the only U.S. city to approve such a tax. That measure was aimed at reducing soda consumption (and the negative health effects that go along with drinking too much of it).

But in Philly, the tax isn't being promoted as a scheme to bring down the city's high rates of obesity or diabetes. Mayor Jim Kenney says he wants to use the revenue for projects that benefit residents in a city with a 26 percent poverty rate, the highest of America's largest cities. He argues soda companies make big money and often market their products to low-income people.

"What we're looking to do is to take some of that profit, to put it back into the neighborhoods that have been their biggest customers, to improve the lives and opportunities for the people who live there," he said at a rally promoting the tax last month.

Read more.