Arguably one of the greatest health issues facing Cincinnati, and most especially Avondale, is the community’s high rates of pre-term birth and infant mortality. Avondale Children Thrive (ACT) reflects a cross-sector collaboration to address the social determinants of children’s health, and specifically, on those interventions that address maternal and child health early on. Partners seek to create an environment in which Avondale children, aged zero to six, are able to thrive related to a variety of factors, such as education, community engagement, safety, employment, and health. The program employs an innovative health champion model, drawn from, and for, the community and employs a door-to-door strategy—leveraging trust built as housing providers and neighbors.


BUILD and its communities apply bold, upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven (BUILD) approaches to improve health in communities that are adversely affected by upstream factors.


ACT takes place within the context of housing provider and consists of a team that can leverage trust among neighbors that is built from years of living and working together through financial hardships. This initiative aims to influence policy, systems, and environmental changes over the long term, through smoke-free housing policies, activation of community gardens, and incentives to promote breastfeeding and healthy food access.


This program focuses on upstream factors that have the greatest influence on the health of the community through three aims: 1) residents as Health Champions; 2) families make measurable improvements in the health of their children through pediatric care, breastfeeding, early reading, and preschool enrollment; and 3) partners improve key social determinants of health, including access to healthy foods and smoke-free living in the community.


This program is built upon an integrated network of teams in alignment with a shared community vision, guiding principles, outcomes, and strategies for creating healthy communities for mothers and children ages zero to six. The multi-sector collaboration creates and supports a social network of resident leaders committed to improving the health of Avondale children and families by increasing community trust, improving living conditions by providing stable and healthy housing, and creating more healthy food sources.


A crucial component is actively engaged neighborhood residents and community leaders as participants, clients, and key advisors. Through every stage of development and strata of leadership, community engagement and empowerment is reflected: 1) residents as Health Champions (HC); 2) resident clients benefit from HC services; 3) and HCs may participate on the ACT Community Advisory Committee as thought leaders, helping to guide the vision.


The Avondale Children Thrive collaboration is committed to data sharing, alignment of program, and a shared vision with metrics across sectors to plan a successful implementation and evaluation of the initiative. Since 2013, one of the partners, the Community Builders has tracked health and education outcomes among its residents. This shared dashboard can be accessed by the community and partners, facilitating transparency among stakeholders.