b'THE PITTSBURGHREPORT TO THE FOUNDATIONCOMMUNITY ESTABLISHED JAN , 2014 $ 20,000 to healthPUBLIC HEALTH IMPROVEMENT FUNDUARY 1 equity55,000 to air quality2018 and 2019 grantstotaled $403,544 all to the AlleghenyCounty Health Department 100,000 to publicfor system improvementsthat have enabled differenthealth trackingprojects, including: 29,000 to childhoodand research32,000 obesityto ClimateChangeAction PlanA fund dedicated to spurring innovation andand the foundations could work on solutions. Thats improving the capacity of a local government agencythe model we want to hold onto.isnt a new concept for Pittsburghs foundations. SimilarAnother investigation that looked at the racial funds were created to improve human services andgap in health outcomes helped shape a countywide the county jail. As of June, the $1.7 million in totalresponse to reverse downward trends of life expectancy contributions has supported 36 public projects.for African Americansas much as 10 years less than Some monies have been spent on sharpening thefor whites; low-birth-weight infantstwice as high as departments response to public health emergenciesfor whites; and infant mortalitythree times greater such as increasing the supply of the overdose responseamong African Americans than white residents.medication, naloxone, to save the lives of those caught upDr. Hacker relied heavily on the fund to build the in opioid abuse. Meanwhile, a recent study of childhoodinfrastructure that earned the department national asthma plots out where the rates are highest, fromaccreditation in 2017. Fewer than 200 of the countrys neighborhoods along densely traveled traffic corridorsnearly 3,000 governmental health departments have to those along the Monongahela River downwind fromachieved that designation since the program began U.S. Steel Corp.s Clairton coke works where some ofin 2011.the nations worst fine-particulate air pollution levelsThe funds greatest contribution, says Michael are regularly recorded.Yonas, Dr.PH., who manages it as The Pittsburgh An ongoing assessment of lead in local drinkingFoundations director of Research and Special Initiatives, water identified children with high levels and neighbor- is helping the department evolve into a nimble 21st-cen-hoods most at risk. That initiative offers an example oftury operation that can respond to public health needs an important byproduct of the fund: The improvementnow and in the future. of the foundations relationships with department officials. Like many older industrial cities, we have aJeffrey Fraser is a freelance writer.lead problem affecting children, says Pearlman. The places where theyre most at risk are in their own homes. The department documented the problem so the public 33'