A child’s zip code should never determine his or her destiny. But today, the neighborhood a child grows up in impacts his or her odds of graduating high school, being in good health, and having economic opportunities over a lifetime. Since 2009, the President has provided proven tools to combat poverty, investing more than $350 million in 100 of the nation’s persistent pockets of poverty.

Building on those efforts is the Promise Zones initiative. The federal government will partner with and invest in communities to create jobs, leverage private investment, increase economic activity, expand educational opportunities, and improve public safety. The Obama Administration will designate 20 communities over the next four years – including five this year – with an intensive and layered approach to revitalizing communities.

In this Web Forum, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and PolicyLink will discuss their partnership to raise public awareness about this promising new initiative and lay the framework on how community revitalization can promote health equity.
During this Web Forum, presenters will:

  • Inform communities and stakeholder organizations across the country about the Administration’s Promise Zones initiative to increase knowledge of and support for the initiative;
  • Help frame this work within the larger health equity movement; and
  • Explain why PolicyLink and Joint Center are involved in this effort


Judith Bell, MPA



Oakland, CA

Judith Bell is the president at PolicyLink where she has been since its founding in 1999. Under her central leadership, PolicyLink has developed into a national voice for access and opportunity for all people — particularly low-income people and communities of color. Bell oversees efforts to develop and advocate for…

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Robert Sampson, PhD

Henry Ford II Professor, Social Sciences

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

  • Director, Boston Area Research Initiative, Cambridge, MA

Robert J. Sampson is the Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University. He taught at the University of Chicago for twelve years before joining the Harvard faculty in 2003. Former President of the American Society of Criminology, he is a member of the National Academy of…

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Autumn Saxton-Ross, PhD

Program Director, Health Policy Institute

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Washington, DC

Autumn Saxton-Ross, PhD, is a resident of the District of Columbia and is currently the Program Director for the Health Policy Institute at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. With degrees in sociology, health education, and exercise science, her research, academic and professional interests are on the social…

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Luke Tate

Senior Policy Advisor

White House Domestic Policy Council

Washington, DC

Luke Tate serves as Senior Policy Advisor on the Urban Affairs and Economic Mobility team at the White House Domestic Policy Council. Luke works primarily on urban policy, neighborhood revitalization, economic development, homelessness, housing, and housing finance, including leading the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative and Rental Policy Working Group.…

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Brian D. Smedley, PhD

Vice President and Director, Health Policy Institute

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Washington, DC

Brian Smedley is Vice President and Director of the Health Policy Institute of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, DC. Formerly, Smedley was Research Director and co-founder of a communications, research and policy organization, The Opportunity Agenda, which seeks to build the national will to…

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