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.

A high school student is speaking at a podium

A College Tour for Prospective First-Generation College Students

A group of Upward Bound Math and Science teenagers – some who had never left central Ohio before – traveled to Washington D.C. over the summer to visit Georgetown and Howard Universities, part of Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s efforts to introduce students to post-secondary education.

A mom is helping her son ride his bicycle

A Neighborhood Partnership to Equip and Empower Parents

The Proud Linden Parent Program is helping caregivers of young children learn from experts, and from each other, how to become better parents and tap into community resources in the process.

Elementary aged children practice riding bikes in a gymnasium setting.

Bringing Comprehensive Injury-Prevention Program to Central Ohio Kids

Safety City is coming back to central Ohio this summer. Safety City, a proven injury-prevention program, is designed for children who are approximately 5, 6 and 7 years old, and focuses on preventing some of the most common causes of injury.

A boy is playing corn hole during a PlayStreets event. People behind him are gathering and playing in the street.

Building Healthier Communities Through Neighborhood Block Parties

The PlayStreets program though Nationwide Children’s Hospital helped 1,700 people get outside and connect with each other in two Columbus neighborhoods in 2022. In 2023, the program is getting even bigger.

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.

Cadets with Safety City participants in an indoor gymnasium setting

Combating a Rising Child Mortality Rate

Franklin County’s average child mortality rate is at its highest level in 15 years, partially as the result of preventable injuries. The Pediatric Vital Signs initiative from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the City of Columbus are addressing that – using data to target neighborhoods that can benefit from the evidence-based Safety City program.

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.

Exterior view of a two-story Linden home with a first floor front porch.

Creating a $50 Million Fund for Affordable Housing

Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the Ohio Capital Finance Corporation and many partners are coming together again to expand affordable housing in Columbus. The “Linden Healthy Homes Fund II” is the latest innovative funding package to support the hospital’s population health efforts.

A teenage girl is standing outside, wearing a medical mask and scrubs, and smiling.

Creating a Youth Pipeline to Health Care Employment

Dozens of young people participated in a paid work experience at Nationwide Children’s during the summer, exposing them to future career paths in health care.

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.

Makayla is smiling, standing in front of a glass privacy wall with fish graphics on it

First Person: Traveling to D.C. as a Youth Health Advisor

Makayla Jackson, a senior at East High School in Columbus, OH, travelled to a national school-based health conference with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to learn more about health programming at school. In this column, she shares what she learned.

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 older elementary aged kid is smiling, sitting on the steps with a brick wall behind him.

From Local to National Impact: Pediatric Vital Signs

Nationwide Children’s Hospital created a set of metrics to measure the overall well-being of children in its region in 2018. Now, one of the leaders of that effort has helped develop “Pediatric Vital Signs” that could be used across the United States.

Tax Credit Statistics for 2022

Growing Free Tax Prep Services

In 2022, Nationwide Children’s helped families receive $1.4 million in tax refunds through its free tax prep services. This year, it will partner with the United Way of Central Ohio to host a free tax prep “Super Saturday” event on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, along with running free tax prep services in other locations.

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.

Tim Robinson, smiling and seated with a board room behind him.

How Children’s Hospitals Can Engage the Corporate Community

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is conducting a consensus study on “Improving the Health and Wellbeing of Children and Youth Through Health Care System Transformation.” Tim Robinson, CEO of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, recently spoke to the study committee about corporate partnerships.

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.

A teenage girl is wearing a cardigan and sitting on an outdoor stoop, writing in a notebook.

How a Hospital Partners to Help High School Students Graduate

Nationwide Children’s has partnered with Linden-McKinley STEM Academy in a program called Be The One, which supports high school students who are at risk of not graduating high school. This program focuses on students who have experienced family trauma, homelessness and other adverse childhood experiences.

A group of adults are shown seated, having a discussion in a town hall setting.

How Community Input Guided a Report

Many scientific reports on public health issues don’t actually use public input. But recent research on treating people exposed to “forever chemicals” began by talking with people who have been exposed to them. A project officer at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, spoke with The Collaboratory about this common-sense approach.

Dad is reading with his young son on the floor. He's pointing to something on the page and the son is smiling.

How Nationwide Children’s Hospital Became the World’s Largest "Imagination Library” Affiliate

Nationwide Children’s now distributes 47,000 free monthly books to young children in central Ohio, making it the largest single affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The program – launched and supported by Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine – is still working to reach some of the children it could help the most.

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.

Nick Jones is standing in an office building, resting his elbow on a high-top table

Improving Communities and Community Wellness

Vice President of Community Wellness Nick Jones sits down to discuss his philosophy on community improvement, Healthy Homes Healthy Families initiatives and priorities for 2023.

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.

Black background photo with four school-aged kids. Image includes Nationwide Children's logo and "Health Happens Everywhere" wording.

Learn About Nationwide Children’s Collaborative Approach to Population Health

Nationwide Children’s has worked for years to invest in community-wide improvements making neighborhoods, homes and schools healthier for Ohio kids. With many partners, the hospital has created a trailblazing model for improving well-being beyond hospital walls.

A group of five elementary aged kids are standing against a brick wall. They are outdoors. One is holding a soccer ball.

Nationwide Children’s to Support School Health Planning Across 32 Appalachian Counties

As part of the State of Ohio’s $500 million grant program to transform the Appalachian region, Nationwide Children’s Hospital will serve as a planning consultant to communities who wish to develop school-based health centers.

A scale in a doctor's office

New Child Obesity Guidelines as Rates Accelerate

Youth obesity rates have been rising for decades, but they accelerated during COVID-19. Experts at Nationwide Children’s recently helped develop new national guidelines for the safe and effective treatment of obesity – the first guideline update in 15 years.

Nationwide Children's CEO Tim Robinson is shown standing at a podium, speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony

Opening School-based Health Care to the Community

St. Mary School in Columbus, Ohio’s German Village neighborhood is breaking ground on a new school health center, which will provide on-site care to the students of St. Mary’s and to others throughout the area.

An employee is standing next to a seated individual. They are looking through tax documents together.

Partnership with United Way Central Ohio Once Again Brings Free Tax Support to the Community

Nationwide Children’s Hospital joined forces with United Way of Central Ohio to support families as they file their taxes on Super Saturday. The free tax clinics have helped hundreds of families identify tax credits and refunds they may be eligible for in the 2023 tax season. The tax clinics will be available to families throughout tax season.

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 young kid is seated at a table, playing and smiling. An adult is supervising and smiling.

“PlayStreets” Gets More Children Outside for Neighborhood Fun

Nationwide Children’s PlayStreets initiatives drew thousands during the summer of 2023 with outdoor events promoting play and community interaction.

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.

A group of individuals cutting a large ribbon in front of a building.

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for 60-Unit Affordable Housing Complex Lockbourne Greene

In a joint effort with community housing partners, Nationwide Children’s Hospital officially opened the 60-unit affordable housing complex in Lockbourne Green. The complex was largely funded by low-income tax credits and will increase access to affordable housing on the south side of Columbus.

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.

An elementary aged girl is sitting on a bench with her back pack next to her.

Using a Transportation Model to Expand School-Based Health

In partnership with CareSource, the Nationwide Children’s school-based health program is helping transport kids from their schools to school-based health centers. The program, which started in October, is already seeing success in connecting kids with care while limiting time spent out of the classroom.

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.