Policy Accelerator

Policy Accelerator

One year into a new policymaking program for city governments, six Latin America cities in the Partnership for Healthy Cities network convened in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic late last year to share progress on building public support and other strategic goals for passing new public health laws.

Representatives from Córdoba, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Medellín, Colombia; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Quito, Ecuador; and Guadalajara, Mexico were joined at the meeting by Vital Strategies, World Health Organization (WHO) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) staff.

The six Latin American cities are among a total of 13 worldwide currently participating in the Partnership’s Policy Accelerator program. The program, launched in 2021, is comprised of intensive technical assistance, trainings and peer-to-peer discussions on every step of the policy process—from how to garner public support to legal and budgetary considerations. The 13 cities involved are pursuing a range of public health and safety goals such as making their downtown areas smoke-free, reducing traffic fatalities and getting schoolchildren to drink more water and fewer sugary drinks.

Vital Strategies’ Mallika Auplish, Carisse Hamlet and Mariana Espinosa Estrada
were among the organizers of the Santo Domingo convening

On the last day of the Policy Accelerator meeting, the local Santo Domingo team invited participants to visit an intersection
transformed through a Partnership-supported speed-management intervention.

Following the convening, Santo Domingo Mayor Carolina Mejía (sixth from the left) met with
Vital Strategies, WHO and PAHO staff, as well as the city team

Participants in the Partnership convening reported returning home with new ideas for winning passage of their Policy Accelerator proposals in local city councils—expected in coming months in a handful of the cities. In the meantime, applications for a second cohort of cities are due January 18, 2023.

This feature was published by Vital Strategies on Jan. 10, 2023.