Two projects, which focused on equalizing conditions for everyone, were featured in the October learning webinar. The Portland (OR) Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer were named IAP2 Projects of the Year for the USA and Canada, respectively, at the 2019 IAP2 Core Values Awards.
The Rose City has had a problem with pedestrian infrastructure over the years: stark inequities among neighborhoods, with sidewalk conditions state-of-the-art in some places and very poor in others. Areas where the infrastructure was very poor tended to be areas where people were more reliant on walking, whether to and from work or school, or to and from transit. It was in the midst of these existing conditions that PedPDX was launched to figure out how to improve the city for walking.
The City’s resources are limited, so PBOT led the consultations by asking what Portlanders would like the city to prioritize. The results were focused on equity, safety, and demand and the city used this as the basis of the plan. The City put out a call for volunteers to sit on the PedPDX Community Advisory Committee. More than 260 people applied: 25 were selected, along with three representatives from each of the neighborhoods. The CAC spent two years helping develop the strategy for the upgrades.
The project involved a city-wide survey, asking residents what kinds of areas were most important to improve. As well as an online survey, PedPDX showed up at nearly 20 community events with a simpler version of the survey. A series of short videos called “Pedestrian Stories” featured people with a range of walking needs, talking about their experiences, and provided meaningful engagement for youth, Black Portlanders, and people with disabilities.
The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (“The Partnership”) was tasked with Refreshing Canada’s Cancer Strategy. It’s been found that certain sectors of society, including Indigenous people, people living in remote areas, new Canadians and LGBTQ people face barriers to accessing and receiving quality cancer treatment. This means that these groups may have poorer healthcare outcomes. Addressing these inequities is key to advancing the cancer system.
The Partnership worked with Hill+Knowlton Strategies to develop the engagement process. After deliberation with a variety of groups, and in line with Health Canada’s terminology, the Partnership decided to use the term “underserviced” to refer to people who face barriers to getting quality cancer care.
The Partnership partnered with 14 organizations representing these demographics, and by building relationships with them, was able to set up facilitated sessions across the country. With sessions in areas ranging from Toronto to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, project lead Anila Sunnak says it sometimes felt like they were in The Amazing Race.
The Partnership engaged with a variety of groups including: cancer patients and survivors, families of patients and survivors, health-care providers and the general public.
In the engagement with the 14 underserviced communities, there were a number of common themes. One key one was the issue of “cultural competency”or the ability of providers and organizations to effectively deliver health care services that meet the social, cultural, and linguistic needs of patients. A culturally competent health care system can help improve health outcomes and quality of care, and can contribute to the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities. Many people from these groups said did not feel welcome or understood by the system.
Top level commitment
Another key and unique element was the visible, ongoing top level organizational commitment to the process. Partnership CEO, Cindy Morton: “It was important for me personally that I, or another member of our executive team, was present at every single of these fourteen face-to-face events from the remote north to downtown Toronto to signal that our leadership was listening and committed to acting on what we heard.”