Erika Hood: Spring 2017 Shared Use Ambassador

Erika hoodOrganization: Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods
Title: REACH Community Fellow and Active Living Strategy Coordinator
Location: Cleveland, OH

As the Community Fellow and Active Living Strategy Coordinator for the HIP-Cuyahoga REACH Grant in Cleveland, Erika was tasked with advancing shared use policies in six priority neighborhoods in Cleveland and the city of East Cleveland, an inner city suburb.  Through relationship building and consulting with residents, she worked to develop shared use policies at various neighborhood sites, such as churches, community centers, and settlement houses. A new approach to school shared use through site coordinators at select Investment Schools in Cleveland resulted in connecting residents to opportunities where they can be involved in physical activity or lead activities themselves during designated hours.  This victory provided physical activity programmers access to the community through their school, where there has been little success before. Her community engagement approach focuses on consulting with her “team of experts” – the residents, and allows her to develop strategies designed by the residents of the community., Her philosophy is to “understand that the residents with a passion to uplift and truly “HEAL” their communities are the missing element at many planning tables, but that is a component that I refuse to forget.”