(Miami, Florida): “Building a Healthy and Resilient Liberty City,” a collaboration between the Florida Institute for Health Innovation (FIHI), the Miami Children’s Initiative, Catalyst Miami, the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County and Jackson Health System is one of 18 American neighborhood projects selected by the BUILD Health Challenge to develop innovative approaches to improve community health.

The BUILD Health Challenge, a national award created jointly by the Advisory Board Company, the de Beaumont Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Colorado Health Foundation, encourages communities to build meaningful partnerships between hospitals and health systems, community-based organizations and local health departments to improve the health of local populations by addressing the factors that lead to poor health.

Working collaboratively with Liberty City neighborhood leaders, the Florida Institute for Health Innovation, Miami Children’s Initiative, health care and public health partners, and key local and regional stakeholders will address crime and violence in Liberty City as barriers to community health.

“Liberty City has had some of the worst health statistics in Miami-Dade County,” stated Cecilia Gutierrez, Chief Executive Officer of the Miami Children’s Initiative. “Fifty percent of Liberty City students say that they feel unsafe in and on their way to school.”

“Building a Healthy and Resilient Liberty City” is a collaborative effort recognized nationally for promise in its ability to decrease crime and improve health. Miami Children’s Initiative will use its “block-by-block” strategy, working directly with Liberty City residents, to drive community change. Catalyst Miami will provide Liberty City parents with leadership training to build community capacity for resident-driven collective action. The Florida Institute for Health innovation will employ a results-based, data driven framework for population-level change used successfully by Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Roderick King to reduce infant mortality in Baltimore and with the California Endowment’s Boys and Men of Color initiative.

“This prestigious award gives well-deserved recognition to a community working together to improve health, fight crime and provide opportunity to those who need it most,” stated Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. “This is a collaborative call to action that will bring needed resources to our health and public health systems in Liberty City.”

“I am pleased that public health and health care leaders have recognized the importance of working with trusted members of the community such as the Miami Children’s Initiative to address the neighborhood’s concern for public safety as a gateway to improved health,” stated Miami-Dade County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson.

Liberty City’s poverty, lack of food access, low educational attainment levels and violence, including disproportionately high rates of physical, sexual, and child abuse, leads to trauma, chronic stress, and mental and physical health outcomes, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, sleeping disorders, high blood pressure, and stroke.

“It is time to combine resources and work with the community of Liberty City to stop the violence from within,” stated Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Jean Monestime. “By focusing on the health effects of an unsafe community, we will engage a new set of partners with an interest in creating an environment where our children and families can thrive.”

Read our Press Release to hear what our elected officials are saying.


About the Florida Institute for Health Innovation

The Florida Institute for Health Innovation (FIHI), formerly known as the Florida Public Health Institute a non-profit, non-governmental organization that improves community health through innovation and collaborative change. FIHI is part of a network of public health institutes (NNPHI) throughout the United States. FIHI believes that today’s health challenges require a new way of working based on shared leadership,  aligning root causes and strategy and measureable results. FIHI believes that innovative collaborations produce innovative solutions for healthier communities. FIHI facilitates data-driven, results-based collaborative action, conducts community-focused research and evaluation, and provides impartial analysis of policy health impacts. To learn more, visit www.flhealthinnovation.org.

About the Miami Children’s Initiative: Miami Children’s Initiative is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization focused on transforming Liberty City, one of South Florida’s most challenging and promising neighborhoods, into a more prosperous community. Like the Harlem Children’s Zone project, Miami Children’s Initiative takes a block-by-block approach to breaking the cycle of poverty by investing in the potential of every child.  In partnership with Liberty City’s residents, youth, religious centers, schools, businesses and non-profit organizations, Miami Children’s Initiative provides a unified continuum of support, education and care that begins before birth and continues through college and career. More information about Miami Children’s Initiative is available at www.miamichildrensinitiative.org.


For more information, contact: 

Florida Institute for Health Innovation

2701 North Australian Ave., Suite 204; West Palm Beach, FL 33407

(561) 838-4444



Twitter: @flhealthinnova

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