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Healthier Cities, Healthier Lives Through Public Policy

· Public Policy,Community Psychology,Social Determinants

My colleagues and I participated in a podcast on designing public policy to create better health. This was originally posted on The Socially Responsible Practitioner blog.

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In partnership with Chicago-based WGN Radio, Adler has created the podcast On Social Health and Change—a weekly series, in which faculty, students, and community partners address social justice issues.

In Episode 8, we discuss how advocating for public policy focused on social justice can change our environment, communities and individual lives for the better.

Part 1: Public and Private Sectors and the Social Contract

Valerie Werner, Ph.D., director of Adler’s Public Administration program discusses how welfare reform and wage increases could significantly improve lives of families and the overall economy.

“We are one of two countries that don’t provide any paid leave of absence for a woman when she has a child. We all know that bonding is essential to the physical and mental health of that child, and, yet, we don’t respect that at all in the policies we create around time off. So, you can have the leave but you’re on your own in terms of pay.”

Part 2: Pay Now or Pay Later: Investing in Communities

Dan Cooper, Ph.D., co-executive director of Adler’s Institute on Social Exclusion, explains the benefits of investing in under-resourced communities.

“This is what we used to do in this country, back in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s and the economy was producing better returns, better wages for people and,ultimately, less inequality.”

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Tiffany McDowell, Ph.D., co-executive director of Adler’s Institute on Social Exclusion, describes the process of training community members to conduct research that helps them advocate for better resources and policies.

“We wanted to look at what are the unintended consequences of these decisions on the physical and mental health and well-being of our communities. Integrated into that is equity and inclusion, so that we are bringing to the table the people most likely to be impacted by those decisions and sitting them down with the decision makers.”