The Big Cities Health Coalition is a forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of the nearly 62 million people they serve.
Innovation in health is all around us. In fact, many city and county governments are leading the nation in innovative ways to create healthy and more equitable communities. That’s why the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) was formed — to create a forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies, maximize resources, and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of the 62 million people they serve. Together, these public health officials directly affect the health and well-being of nearly one in five Americans.
BCHC addresses a wide range of health issues, including COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, nutrition and tobacco policy, bioterrorism preparedness, environmental challenges, and school health. BCHC fosters strong collaboration between urban health departments; provides for shared leadership and expertise on complex and often emerging public health challenges; develops and shares best and promising practices; and provides a unified voice on policy matters and takes advantage of advocacy opportunities primarily at the national level.
Cities are innovators in public health policy and practice. When Los Angeles County launched restaurant letter grading 20 years ago, it was a first of its kind system that is now that is commonplace across the country today. In the years following implementation, LA County saw foodborne illness hospitalizations decrease. New York City and Seattle were among the first jurisdictions to ensure that their cutting-edge tobacco regulations included e-cigarettes. Most recently, in response to COVID-19, BCHC members developed stay-at-home orders, mask mandates, and other policies that controlled the pandemic’s spread and saved lives. BCHC continues to broaden its reach, attracting interest from new cities and partner organizations, and helping prepare and support new big city health directors.
Over the years BCHC has grown from a membership of eight cities, whose work was led by staff at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, to 30 member cities with dedicated staff and infrastructure. BCHC advocates on a national level for policies and funding to protect and improve the health of urban America. They develop policy priorities to ensure federal resources flow to communities that are most in need.
If you’d like more information about Big Cities Health Coalition, contact Gabrielle Nichols at firstname.lastname@example.org.