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Vital Stories

Cities in Focus

A majority of the world’s population now lives in cities, and the trend toward urbanization is growing. Vital Strategies sees cities as engines for public health, and works across several of our programs—notably the Partnership for Healthy Cities —to engage urban governments in leading public health improvements.

We are proud that members of our team have authored two chapters in a new book that aims to advance understanding of how cities influence our health. “Urban Health,” published by Oxford University Press, includes the voices of academic experts from a range of disciplines, alongside those working to improve the health of cities, including staff at Vital Strategies. In our first chapter, we highlight lessons learned from the 54 cities joined together through the Partnership for Healthy Cities, which we coordinate. Our second chapter shares examples of the ways city health departments around the world are leading urban public health practice.

Also out now is our 2018 Activity Report, which recounts stories from our work partnering with cities in tobacco control, environmental health and numerous other issues. The report includes 11 stories of the impact we have made in the past year, a timeline of the year’s highlights and a map of our work.

On International Women’s Day, our Vital Stories blog and social media featured eight women mayors who are prioritizing health in their cities. Urban leaders in Ahmedabad, Barcelona, Kigali, Melbourne, Mexico City, Paris, San Francisco and Santiago are leading a variety of interventions: improving air quality, prioritizing pedestrian safety in school zones, encouraging use of walking and biking paths, enforcing smoke-free laws, and better collecting data on noncommunicable diseases, such as cancer and diabetes. All eight mayors are leading cities that participate in the Partnership for Healthy Cities.