Everyone deserves the chance to reach their best health and wellbeing. Partners in Austin are embracing the city’s rich cultural diversity and, by being responsive to resident and neighborhood needs, advancing a Culture of Health that benefits everyone.
Today in Austin’s Eastern Crescent neighborhoods, deep cross-sector partnerships are holding strong across communities, eliminating structural barriers to health and improving health equity in ways that hold promise to endure for generations.
Go Austin/Vamos Austin (GAVA) is a convening table for partnerships focused on building health and wellbeing with and for community residents who have been displaced by gentrification or other structural barriers. GAVA and its partners are committed to cross-sector partnerships and a community organizing approach that starts with listening to and responding to the needs of residents. The partnership is building health equity across four portfolios: Food Justice, Early Childhood Health, Climate Resilience, and Neighborhood Stability.
GAVA approaches its work with a community organizing model that incorporates history and culture while valuing the expertise that comes from lived experience. In fact, GAVA has intentionally built a staff who share similar lived experiences with the community members they serve. “A critical piece to our work is a focus on building trusting relationships with the community members we partner with and following their lead,” says Cassie Sodergren, GAVA’s Grants & Projects manager. “That’s something that we are intentional about.”
Like many cities, Austin has suffered from segregation and severe divisions that created divides and disparate health outcomes. Land use policies, redlining, and other inequitable planning practices and economic investments have increased chronic disease and created health disparities.