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Partnership for Healthy Cities Launches Online Platform to Support City Leaders Responding to COVID-19

The Partnership for Healthy Cities COVID-19 Response Center, Part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Global Coronavirus Response Initiative, Connects Network of 70 Cities to Crucial Technical Assistance and Peer-to-Peer Support

NEW YORK (April 15, 2020) —The Partnership for Healthy Cities (PHC) today launched a new online platform for mayors, city officials and public health practitioners to support their efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis. The Partnership for Healthy Cities COVID-19 Response Center includes the latest tools and technical resources geared toward urban challenges, ranging from maintaining city services to legal guidance on implementing critical public health measures, for cities at every stage of the pandemic. The online platform was developed by the global health organization Vital Strategies, with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the World Health Organization. The PHC COVID-19 Response sits within the Bloomberg Philanthropies Coronavirus Global Response Initiative, in collaboration with leading global experts on epidemic prevention.

COVID-19 has the potential for rapid spread in urban centers, and many of those at risk for the most severe complications are those with underlying conditions including noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease and cancer. Reaffirming its commitment to cities during this evolving crisis, the Partnership for Healthy Cities has shifted and expanded its scope of work—from a focus on preventing NCDs and injuries—to immediate assistance in the urban response to COVID-19.

“The coronavirus crisis is posing urgent new challenges to mayors and city health agencies across the world. Through the Partnership for Healthy Cities, we’re working to ensure they have the support they need,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, Founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and three-term mayor of New York City. “Today, we’re launching an online resource center to provide city leaders with important tools and technical resources to take on the crisis and share strategies that work. The actions we take now, informed by the best scientific guidance, can help contain this pandemic and save many lives.”

The Partnership for Healthy Cities COVID-19 Response Center will continually update cities with guidance and up-to-date scientific information through webinars, technical materials and other assets. A resource exchange component of the Response Center allows for particular focus on peer-to-peer learning among cities, to facilitate collaboration and scaling-up of good practices. Cities will also receive key resources from trusted leaders such as the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USAID, Pan American Health Organization and Vital Strategies.

The Response Center is organized into four areas of technical assistance: surveillance and epidemiology; communication; public health social measures; and legal and policy guidance. 

“Access to science-based technical guidance will be critical to the local response to COVID-19,” said José Luis Castro, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vital Strategies. “Building on the strong global network of the Partnership for Healthy Cities, the sharing platform launched today represents a clear path forward to help cities take immediate action.”

Cities have a long history of coping with public health emergencies. They have also been the hardest hit. From the 1918 flu pandemic, to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014, cities are often on the frontlines of a national health response. The knowledge and structures generated by those experiences could be helpful as they address this unprecedented crisis, as well as a resource to other cities worldwide. 

“At the heart of the Partnership for Healthy Cities is the objective to reduce rates of preventable deaths worldwide,” said Dr. Kelly Henning, who leads the public health program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “The technical assistance made available to cities through the Partnership’s COVID-19 Response Center, a core component of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ global assistance, will play an important role in the urban response to COVID-19.”

The Partnership for Healthy Cities, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with the World Health Organization and Vital Strategies, is a network of 70 cities committed to saving lives by preventing noncommunicable diseases—heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease and cancer—and injuries. The relationships forged through this network since 2017 have proven more valuable than ever as urban leaders look to their counterparts in cities worldwide for lessons learned in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. 

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in more than 570 cities and over 160 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2019, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $3.3 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on FacebookInstagramYouTube and Twitter.

About Vital Strategies
Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in more than 70 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

Media Contacts:
Jean Weinberg, +1-332-201-0508jean@bloomberg.org
Christina Honeysett, +1-914-424-3356/ choneysett@vitalstrategies.org