Improving Neighborhoods

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Children’s immediate environments have a huge impact on their health.

Discover efforts and strategies to help children where they are – in their schools, homes and communities.

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Nationwide Children's Hospital Patient Photo

A Challenge to Health Care Leaders: Invest in Communities

Tim Robinson, CEO of Nationwide Children’s, and Don Schwarz, MD, senior vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, write in Modern Healthcare that health care institutions should take a “community investment approach” to have the greatest possible impact on overall health.

Mary Kay Irwin is smiling and standing in a school-based health service clinical area.

Building Momentum for School-Based Health Care

Schools and health care organizations are starting to realize they have the same goal: healthy, successful, happy, productive children. Mary Kay Irwin, EdD, senior director of School Health Services at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, shares how the two can collaborate through school-based health care.

Columbus Mayor Ginther and Miss Peg

Collaboration for a Fresh Food Market and Charitable Pharmacy

Many partners from the public and private sectors have joined forces to open a free, fresh food market and charitable pharmacy to improve the health and wellbeing of an underserved but opportunity-rich neighborhood.

Sisters Sitting Outside on a Warm Day

Climate Change, the Environment, and Children’s Health

Community health is often focused on the immediate “environment:” housing, food access, neighborhood safety and similar concerns. But much wider-scope environmental issues, such as climate change, are increasingly recognized as having an impact on health as well.

Alice, pictured wearing a mask, is standing on her front porch. The front of her home is pictured and there's a large tree in her front yard.

Community Revitalization Initiative Shows How a Children’s Hospital Can Be a Good Neighbor

On the heels of the announcement that Nationwide Children’s Hospital is expanding its Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families initiative, The Columbus Dispatch Editorial Board praised the effort to invest in even more affordable housing for the good of area communities.

A row of houses in Columbus, Ohio

Corporate Partners Allowing for Greater Neighborhood Investment

Health systems may struggle with finding the resources for significant community investment outside of the traditional mission of health care. Nationwide Children’s has relied on a number of corporate partners to help leverage its own community investment work.

Ohio Governor's Imagination Library

Expanding the Reach of the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library

In 2019, Fran DeWine, Ohio’s First Lady, introduced the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library to promote literacy in the state. Nationwide Children’s Hospital is a founding member, and administers and promotes the program in Franklin and Delaware counties.

Young School Aged Girl Smiling at her locker

Expanding a Hospital-Led Neighborhood Revitalization Effort

Since 2008, HNHF has impacted over 400 homes in the zip codes near the hospital’s main campus, and it has worked to address other social drivers of health. The initiative’s success led Nationwide Children’s to begin work in another historic Columbus neighborhood facing challenges, called Linden.

A mom, dad and two children are shown sitting on a couch, laughing

Free Tax Prep Program Now a National Model

After a successful second year, Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s free family tax preparation effort is poised to make an even bigger impact - and serve as a model for others to follow.

An elementary-aged boy is wearing a polo shirt, sitting in front of a window and smiling.

Helping Families Access Tax Credits

The 2021 federal Child Tax Credit has caught the attention of many in pediatrics as an important, enhanced way to address social determinants of health for low-and-middle income families.

A smiling teenage boy is wearing a backpack and standing in a park. His arms are crossed.

How a Children’s Hospital Supports Post-High School STEM Education

There are more than 200 Upward Bound Math and Science programs in the United States, almost all operated by colleges and universities. Nationwide Children’s Hospital is the only children’s hospital with its own program. Read about how the hospital helps high school students who want to pursue further STEM education after graduation.

Boy Throwing Football

How a Hospital Can Help Improve a Community’s Housing

Large, academic health systems often focus on delivering care, researching disease and training the next generation of providers. But there’s good reason to think they could also advance their mission through community investments, especially in housing.

Med Pros

How School-Based Health Care Helps Children

Health systems and school districts throughout Ohio have partnered on “school-based health care,” an effort to bring medical and other wellness services into schools for children who might not otherwise receive them.

A provider examines an elementary student at a school-based health location

How School-based Health Helps Children and Families

With the expansion of school-based health clinics in some parts of Ohio, there’s confusion about the role the clinics play in improving children’s health outcomes. The Ohio School-Based Health Alliance is working to show that “healthy kids learn better.”

Deena Chisolm, PhD

How Should a Neighborhood Improvement Initiative Measure Its Impact?

The Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families initiative has sparked millions of dollars of investment into the South Side of Columbus, Ohio. Deena Chisolm, PhD, director of the Center for Child Health Equity and Outcomes Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, discusses making sure that investment has an impact.

A group of individuals break ground at Lockbourne Greene. Construction equipment is visible behind them.

How Tax Credits Can Help a Hospital Finance Affordable Housing

Nationwide Children’s Hospital and its partners broke ground on a $16 million affordable housing development, which was partially funded by low-income housing tax credits. Learn how other hospitals, even those with no housing experience, can follow suit.

A mom is holding one child while sitting on her front porch, and her other child is sitting next to her.

Improving Children’s Health by Improving the Community

One of Nationwide Children’s Hospital signature initiatives to improve outcomes for an entire population – Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families – was the recipient of the 2020 Hearst Health Prize.

Elementary aged student, sitting in the grass, smiling

Investing in the Community? Listen to the Community First.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s national model of community investment is built on a trusting relationship with residents. Nick Jones, director of Healthy Neighborhoods Health Families, writes for the American Hospital Association about how that trust was built.

Patty McClimon

Patty McClimon Named a “2021 Woman Leader to Watch”

Patty McClimon, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, was recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of 2021’s Women Leaders to Watch in Healthcare. This award program recognizes women in leadership roles, spotlighting their administrative and professional accomplishments.

Nationwide Children's Hospital Patient Stock Photo

Pediatric Vital Signs

Nationwide Children’s Hospital and a number of community partners launched the first effort of its kind in the United States to measure and improve the health of every child: Pediatric Vital Signs.

A Nationwide Children's employee works on a computer at a school-based vaccine clinic

Reaching More Children With the COVID Vaccine

Through school-based health programs, Nationwide Children’s has helped vaccinate thousands of young people who might not have been vaccinated otherwise.

A Black mother is breastfeeding her infant

Redefining Breastfeeding Help as Preventive Health Care

Breastfeeding is linked to an array of benefits for both the parent and the child, but it is often overlooked in preventive services. A team of health professionals are working to remedy that and integrate breastfeeding support and education into primary care visits.

Two Teens Smiling Outdoors

School-Based Reproductive Health Education Programs

Nationwide Children’s Hospital and its partners are expanding reproductive health education efforts in schools to improve teen health and overall wellbeing.

Alma is standing on her front porch, smiling

The Personal Impact of a Healthy Home

Alma Santos was struggling to make her home livable on the South Side of Columbus until a neighbor told her about Healthy Homes, the affordable housing arm of Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families and a partnership between Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the faith-based Community Development for All People.

Learn More About Our Programs

Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families Houses

Housing and Community Development

Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families (HNHF), an initiative composed of faith-based organizations, community development organizations, youth-serving nonprofits and local public schools, seeks to create positive health outcomes in the community.


Infant Mortality

The Ohio Better Birth Outcomes (OBBO) collaborative is dedicated to reducing the infant mortality rate in Franklin County by improving the delivery of health care services for women and their families using quality improvement science to guide our work.

Teen girl and boy working at a computer

School-Based Health

Care Connection is a partnership among Nationwide Children's Hospital, schools and a child's doctor to provide access to health care at school. Primary care, behavioral health and asthma therapy are offered through school health clinics or the Mobile Care Center.