Won’t You Be My Neighborhood?

Treating the neighborhood as a patient to improve children’s health


For Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, investing in preventive care means giving its pediatric patients a healthy place to live.

“Children are affected by their neighborhood,” says Dr. Kelly Kelleher, director of the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice at Nationwide. “Kids get trapped inside their apartments, there’s a lot of violence outside, and they watch TV all the time. They overeat. They have asthma.”

This “neighborhood effect” is why the hospital and its community partners launched the Healthy Neighborhood Healthy Families initiative to tackle healthcare disparities for an entire neighborhood. Nationwide works with city and community groups to build new affordable homes, renovate vacant homes, and help homeowners fund renovations in the neighborhood next to the hospital.

In its first eight years, HNHF has built 58 affordable housing units and 15 new homes, renovated 71 homes, and given out 149 home improvement grants. Nationwide hopes this safe and stable housing along with job training, school mentoring, and other related programs will prevent many health conditions for its patients as it continues its work to make a healthier neighborhood.

“It’s one of the most important ways to help children,” says Dr. Kelleher. “And it’s great to see kids playing outside again.”

Read the full article at npr.org and check out the full study published in Pediatrics.