Community Leaders, Developers Discuss Community Regeneration
A second event in the four-part Building Healthy Places series.
In this year-long discussion of Building Healthy Places, ULI St. Louis is uncovering a wide range of topics, challenges, and insights from across our region that directly align with this global ULI initiative.
Earlier this week, St. Louis Public Radio broadcast an interview and discussion with ULI member Sandra Moore of Urban Strategies, Chris Krehmeyer of Beyond Housing, and Associate Professor Jason Purnell of Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. The discussion centered around the findings of a report issued by Washington University and Saint Louis University, which looked closely at the health and well-being of African Americans in St. Louis City and County and why it matters to everyone.
From the report:
Health is about more than what happens in a doctor’s office or a hospital room. Health allows us to engage fully in the activities of our daily lives and to make meaningful contributions to our communities. It is fundamental to human well-being, but it is not equally distributed across our community.
Since March of 2013, scholars from Washington University in St. Louis and Saint Louis University have been exploring how this unequal distribution of health in the St. Louis region is related to what are called social determinants of health — factors like education, income, the quality and composition of neighborhoods, and access to community resources like healthy foods and safe public spaces.
The health of our community has broad-reaching impacts, many of which are economic and affect the entire region. In one year alone, the loss of life associated with low levels of education and poverty among African Americans was estimated at $3.3 billion.
Also from the report:
More than 2,000 African American students dropped out of high school in 2012. They are likely to earn about $7,000 less per year than high school graduates. Their lifetime earnings loss (ranging from $347,000 to $739,410) reduces purchasing power at regional businesses, lowers tax receipts, and adds to the costs of social services and unemployment assistance. Using earnings alone, St. Louis leaves $694 million to $1.5 billion “on the table” when we let dropouts occur.
Eliminating racial and ethnic differences in mental health could save as much as $27 million in inpatient hospital charges. Other economic impacts associated with poor mental health include crime, imprisonment, reduced earnings and employment, and family disruption.
If we reduced the disparity in chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, St. Louis could save $65 million a year in inpatient hospital charges, which would be a significant cut in the $1.1 billion on just these three diseases.
The data is staggering and the opportunities for change are certainly compelling. As ULI St. Louis continues to explore this timely Building Healthy Places topic, we encourage you to hear how others in our community are tackling this issue.
To listen to the full interview and hear from the experts first-hand, visit St. Louis on the Air.
For the Sake of All is now also available in pdf online. To access the full report, visit ForTheSakeOfAll.org.