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  • Melissa Jones

Rise Together and Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII) Join Forces to Cut Poverty

San Francisco (August 7, 2019) – Rise Together, a multi-sector movement started by United Way Bay Area (UWBA) to address the complexities of ending poverty, became an initiative of Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII), a coalition of eleven public health departments committed to advancing health equity, effective August 5.

BARHII will maintain the initiative’s flagship programs and events, including policy advocacy, regional coalition building, the Opportunity Summit and the Leadership for Equity & Opportunity Program. New initiatives and programming will be developed in the coming months with participation from BARHII and Rise Together membership.

Melissa Jones, Executive Director of BARHII said, “For too long, the high cost of living in the Bay Area has placed an incredible burden on low income families that is harming health and creating unequal health outcomes. The partnership with Rise Together will help us reduce poverty so that all communities in the Bay Area have a fair shot at health.”

Rise Together Executive Director Megan Joseph agreed. “Rise Together partners are focused on addressing economic opportunity and shared prosperity at its root, to shift the systems and structures that drive inequities to

create thriving communities,” Joseph said. “The intersection of health and economic well-being is an ideal partnership to more holistically reach our shared goals. We are thrilled to be joining forces with BARHII and their partners for greater impact!”

UWBA brought partners together seven years ago to found Rise Together. Today, the organization leverages the power of more than 250 partners from nine counties to create economic opportunity and prosperity for all through collective action, shifting systems that are no longer working and redefining what is possible for Bay Area residents. UWBA will continue to chair the Rise Together Steering Council following the merger.

BARHII was founded to address the preventable decade-long differences in life expectancy that exist by race, income, and neighborhood, and convenes public health staff to identify emerging public health trends and advance best practices for health equity. The BARHII framework has become a nationally recognized guide for improving the living conditions and inequities that cause people to live shorter, sicker lives; it guides health departments’ strategic planning, and has been adopted by the California Department of Public Health Office of Health Equity.

“This is a terrific combination of two aligned organizations creating an extraordinary regional coalition of cross-sector leaders who are addressing poverty and its root causes,” said Anne Wilson, CEO of UWBA. “We know—because research tell us—that fighting poverty requires the intentional intersection of the health, education, employment and safety net systems in our community. With this combination, those systems are working together, sharing data, advocating for policy and amplifying best practices across nine counties. We are very pleased about this next step for Rise Together and UWBA will remain a highly engaged partner and advocate.”

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