Cities For Better Health (CBH) – Philadelphia

The Challenge


As of 2020, the prevalence of diabetes in Philadelphia was 13.1% of the adult population. 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data from: PLACES: Local Data for Better Health. 2020.​


As of 2020, 30.2% of the adult population was living with obesity. 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data from: PLACES: Local Data for Better Health. 2020.​

By the year 2030, nearly 1 million adults are estimated to have diabetes in Philadelphia. 2 Institute for Alternative Futures. Diabetes 2030 forecasts, 2015: Philadelphia metropolitan area diabetes data & forecasts. Accessed August 23, 2019.

The 2022 regional Community Health Needs Assessment identified chronic disease prevention and management as the third highest priority need for area communities.

What We Do

Our Solution

Launched in 2019, Cities for Better Health (CBH) - Philadelphia integrates community-driven and place-based approaches across multiple sectors to change conditions that contribute to chronic disease in the city’s historically vulnerable and underserved communities. CBH - Philadelphia is one of 40+ cities participating in an international coalition initiated by Novo Nordisk. Led by the Health Care Improvement Foundation, CBH – Philadelphia promotes community empowerment and sovereignty, chronic disease awareness, and addresses key social drivers of health through community-based partnerships with more than two dozen organizations.


Current activities foster partnership and collaboration in programming by engaging local stakeholders and experts to develop and implement innovative multi-sector, community-driven health interventions. Current populations of focus include Black and Latino youth, currently and formerly incarcerated individuals, and faith communities. Through partner collaboration, interventions are layered to create an approach that addresses individual, community, and societal barriers to health knowledge, overall wellness, and population health.

Cities for Better Health (CBH) - Philadelphia prioritizes programming across these five domains:

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Featured Projects

Champions of Hope: Latinos Preventing Diabetes

Champions of Hope: Latinos Preventing Diabetes is an inter-generational Latino Diabetes Prevention Program that engages youth leaders, local community residents, and community health workers as catalysts for community health education. Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coaches are trained through a Youth Champions Club, participate in health challenges on the Diabuddy app, and are offered programming such as the Minorities in Health Sciences Symposium, an event that models positive professional futures for minority youth. This program is led by Esperanza College. Additional partners on this program include Thomas Jefferson University’s College of Population Health and College of Nursing.

From the Inside Out

From the Inside Out nutrition education and cooking series designed to help inmates and returning citizens make healthier food choices in prison and learn how to prepare healthy meals upon returning home. Several additional partners support this initiative, including the City of Philadelphia Reentry Coalition, the Pennsylvania Prison Society, the National Reentry Workforce Development Conference, the Philadelphia Department of Prisons and 10-15 community-based reentry/recovery houses.

Activate! Advocates for Diabetes Prevention

Activate! Advocates for Diabetes Prevention training cohorts of youth ages 13 to 18 to become community advocates for policy and environmental change solutions to prevent the rising epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and pre-diabetes among young people. Youth follow an advocacy curriculum and collectively identify and advocate for an environmental or system change within their local context. This program is led by The Advocacy Institute at Health Promotion Council, and partners with local schools.

Nutrition Education and Youth Land Stewardship Program

Nutrition Education and Youth Land Stewardship Program offers paid farm-to-school fellowships to high school-aged students living in Allegheny West and other North Philadelphia neighborhoods. Focusing on hands-on, land-based work experience and youth-led community advocacy, this program is designed to provide practical experience and engage local young people in food, nutrition, and social justice work. Participants also take home farm-grown produce weekly. This program is led by Share Food Program, and partners with local schools.

Faith & Diabetes

Faith & Diabetes is an initiative created under the Cities Changing Diabetes program and is designed to engage and empower communities of faith to better understand and address diabetes awareness, prevention, and management with special attention to religious belief, practice, and community life. Recognizing that houses of faith are trusted community institutions whose health ministry leaders are experts in understanding the communities they serve and the social and environmental conditions that drive health needs.​ Currently, 15 houses of faith have formally joined the Faith & Diabetes Collaborative. Programs include peer support, education and awareness, and food and physical activity interventions and are not just limited to diabetes but extend to work towards addressing the whole health needs of their congregations and communities.

“For the first time I have someone to listen to me and not judge me for what I do but help me though my situation.”​

- Faith & Diabetes Participants

“The Faith & Diabetes program is very important for the health of our church and community. We would like people to understand the seriousness of the disease, how to live with diabetes and how to prevent complications as well.”

- Faith & Diabetes Participants

“I am very impressed with Nurse Nina, and her knowledge of diabetes. I am honored and exceedingly grateful to attend, participated, and internalized what I have learned as well as make some changes in my life style and choices of meal.” 

- Faith & Diabetes Participants

“Please keep this program saved my life.”

- Faith & Diabetes Participants

“Thank so much for the Minorities in Health Symposium! I really enjoyed it so much that my teacher was looking for me to leave…It was a true lifetime opportunity.”

– Student M. ​[Student M. has now started a “STEM For Girls” after-school club at her high school.]

“I look at the nutrition facts on the back of the package before. I never did that before. I never knew that there were many servings in some packages.”

– Prison-based Community Partner Participant

“When I feel bad, now I’m going to find a buddy – someone to talk to – or to try exercising to control my eating.”

– Prison-based Community Partner Participant

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Program Details

For more information or to get involved, contact Lauren Eckel, Project Coordinator.

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