• Summit Institute for Research and Education, Inc. (SHIRE) Summit Institute for Research and Education, Inc. (SHIRE)


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Mission Statement

SHIRE engages with communities, government agencies, corporations, foundations and other institutions by: a) convening diverse individuals to take collective action; b) informing public policy decision makers on strategies to eliminate health disparities; c) raising awareness of policy implications for communities of color; d) serving as a trusted source of information; and e) providing technical assistance and consulting to allied organizations. Communities, government agencies, corporations, and foundations look to SHIRE as an effective and trusted resource to identify inequities, propose solutions, and galvanize grassroots groups to addtess access to health care and quality of care issues among the underserved, particularly communities of color.



In 1999, SHIRE coordinated the first ever national advocacy coalition led by people of color and dedicated to achieve health parity for thefive major racial and ethnic minority groups in the nation. Its program, Out of Many One (OMO), has had many notable accomplishments, including a precedent-setting national conference in 2000, where participants developed a widely-distributed strategic plan for achieving health parity by 2010; production of cultural celebrations and conduct of workshops for the 2002 National Summit onHealth Disparities sponsored by the Office of Minority Health (OMH) of Heath and Human Services (HHS).

SHIRE's most recent national conference, which was held in November of 2011, addressed building community engagement in underserved neighborhoods throughout the country. Another national conference is being planned for early 2013.


SHIRE is in its 14 the year as a District of Columbia 501(c) (3) corporation committed to the empowerment of D.C. residents, particularly in under-served areas of the city, and provision of education and outreach services. Eliminating health disparities and helping people of color and other under-served attain optimal health is our core mission. Although we function at national, regional and state levels -promoting policies that benefit communities of color in local jurisdictions, our primary focus in the District is to promote health and wellness and address critical issues that contribute to disproportionate mortality and morbidity rates in this city - childhood obesity and the chronic diseases associated with obesity and overweight among children and adults.

Many of SHIRE’s local program efforts have focused on Wards 7 and 8 where these health challenges are most acute. At the same time, we have maintained a laser focus on those policies that will support residents in these and other wards in making active living and healthy eating choices, such as promoting after school supper policies; healthy vending options; a park ambassador initiative; and third-party reimbursement for community-based fitness facilities.

The following are examples of the policy efforts, services and programs SHIRE has implemented to date:

Grassroots Partnership to Promote Healthy Living: Eliminate Health Disparities and Prevent Childhood Obesity in DC Project

Program Overview: Three- year federal government-funded initiative designed to promote healthy living by focusing and delivering on the followings objectives: (1) Public Awareness Campaign, (2) Ward 8 Health Action Plans, (3) Advocacy Training, (4) Adult and Youth Peer Health Educators, (5) Children Health Access, (6) Outreach to Health Professionals for Improved Obesity Prevention/Treatment Services and (7) Evaluation Plan and Replication.

Measure: Number of Residents, Children, Families and Faith-Based/Community Partners Directly Contacted and Reached via Public Awareness Campaign

Results: SHIRE Goal to Modify and Change Behaviors Impacting Childhood Obesity

  • Direct contact with 1,622 residents from various age groups and diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds; and, 140 faith-based/community partners.
  • Conduct nutritional seminars for 60 health providers to promote better nutrition for children and families.
  • 75,000 reached by public awareness campaigns in targeted neighborhoods.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities DC Partnership (HKHC-DC)

Program Overview: SHIRE and HKHC-DC works for policies that promote healthy eating and active living, with a focus on benefits for southeast DC residents in Wards 7 and 8. Community residents are engaged as advocates to help recommend healthy eating policies to local government. A four - year project, 2008-2012, SHIRE serves as the lead agency for the seven-member public/private partnership, which includes the DC Department of Health, and is one of nine lead agencies across the nation in this Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 50 - site child obesity prevention program. HKHC partners played a key role in obtaining federal support for the After School Meals Program, which provides food to hungry children and are currently working on three innovative policies dealing with parks, healthy food vending, and public/private support for community fitness programs.

Measure (to date): Number of Schools, Students Served and Engaged

Results: SHIRE and HKHC-DC Partners Initiative.

  • In 2009, DC was named a Federal Afterschool Meal Program State.
  • Community Impact: In 2010, nearly 16,000 students in 102 schools received high quality meals after school.
  • DC is #1 in the nation for the number of meals served.

East of the River Urban Neighborhood Gardening Policy and Economic Development Initiative

Program Overview: Initiated in April 2011, SHIRE is working with and preparing residents in Wards 7 and 8 to learn how to grow and advocate for the availability of fresh produce. Proposed as a 3-year project, SHIRE will also help to organize a Food Policy Action Collaborative designed to give these residents a voice and input on citywide food issues, such as "food deserts" and the availability of fresh produce. The program has been well received among children and adults in two housing complexes and one senior center. Residents have started to plant gardens that will yield much needed fresh produce in communities without easy access to supermarkets.

Measure: Number of Participating Entities, Youth and Adults Participating in Gardening in the East of River Urban Neighborhood Gardening Initiative

Results: As of April 2011, over 100 youth and adult gardeners from three housing complexes are participating in the project with a potential to impact 3,000 community members and residents by 2014.

Volunteer Peer Health Educators Program

Program Overview: SHIRE has recruited, trained and deployed 12 adult and 75 youth annually to serve as peer educators and volunteers. These peer educators (volunteers) are residents of their neighborhood who engage, educate and share information about healthy eating through skits, plays and community

presentations in supermarkets, camps, senior and recreation centers, and other outlets in DC southeast neighborhoods. Youth and their families learned ways to combat hunger by choosing healthy foods and avoiding fast foods with empty calories.

Measure: Number of Residents Reached and Engaged. Sales of Fresh Produce

Results: SHIRE and PEER Health Educators

  • Peer educator healthy eating presentations reached nearly 4,000 residents over a 3-month period
  • Peer educators ability to mobilize and influence neighborhood residents to support Ward 8 Farmers Market resulted in 50% increase in sales of fresh produce in 2010 versus 2009.
  • Youth Peer Educators rated the hunger/healthful living classes a 4.8 out of a possible highest rating of 5.0.
  • 80% of residents in SHIRE educational sessions gave peer educators highest marks.
  • In 2009, over 225 community presentations were delivered that reached over 3.000 residents in Ward 8 residents.

Community Volunteer Program

Program Overview: SHIRE partnered with KABOOM to build a playground in Ward 8. To support its healthy living and active lifestyle initiatives, SHIRE met with residents of Ward 8 to discuss their desire and need to build a safe playground in their community. Initially, some residents were excited and others were in disagreement because they did not think a project of this magnitude would be fully supported by KABOOM or any organization. SHIRE leveraged its PEER Educators Volunteer Program to gained immediate receptivity and participation from the community and to recruit additional volunteers to "lend-a- hand" in building the playground in Ward 8. The playground was built in 1 day.

Measure: Number of Projects. People Served and Engaged

Results: SHIRE and KaBOOM Initiative, October 6, 2010.

  • Community Impact: 1 playground completed, serving 80 children
  • Program Impact: 300 volunteers participated in building playground.
  • Public/private partnership: 5 sponsors, 21 contributors and 24 organizations offering volunteers

Youth Passports to Health

Program Overview: This age group, children and youth ages 9-15, is most at risk for obesity in DC. In fact, DC youth in this group are at the top of the nation’s obesity list. Therefore to address youth obesity and educate youth, SHIRE, in collaboration with five community organizations, issued "passports" to 20 youth who received stamps whenever they engaged in physical activities over a 4-month period, including but not limited to, swimming, "boxercise" and roller-skating. Additionally, youth also received healthy eating tips and information about fruits and vegetables needed to support healthy bodies. Upon completion, prizes were awarded to boys and girls with the most stamps.

Measure: Number of People Who Changed Their Behavior

Results: Participants in Youth Passports to Health

  • Over 30 youth completed the program and learned new skills (e.g. swimming), improved their fitness, lost weight and or adopted healthier eating practices.

Wellness Circles

Program Overview: This program focuses on women with chronic diseases and introduces to them strategies to manage one’s health. The strategies feature physical activity options and an understanding of food facts, preparation tips, nutrition do’s and don’ts, with a focus on the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables in daily diets.

Measure: Number of People Who Changed Their Behavior and Education

Results: Participants Interviews and Program Execution

  • 90% reported improved knowledge and eating habits after participation
  • 30% reported lower blood pressure and better diabetes control
  • One participant started a walking club involving 20 neighbors.

SHIRE Childhood Overweight and Obesity Prevention (SCOOP)

Program Overview: Modeled after a Head Start curriculum, SHIRE created a program for children and families of color that engages child education centers and young children in their care in a structured program of nutrition education and daily physical activity using song and dance from an original CD. 1,000 parents and families received similar information through 20 Saturday Healthy Living sessions (10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.)over an 8-month period.

Measure: Number of Caregivers Trained and Saturday Healthy Eating Seminars

Results: SCOOP Training and Healthy Eating Seminars

  • SHIRE trained caregivers in 60 childcare centers
  • Conducted 100 Saturday healthy eating sessions for parents and families
  • Introduced food basics for very young children and families
  • Identified sources of affordable healthy foods.
  • Structured physical activity in centers increased from 45% to 72%

SHIRE’S Commitment to Collaboration

SHIRE values collaboration, as evidenced by our leadership and participation in the Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Collaborative (140 members) in the District of Columbia; the Regional Primary Care Coalition with stakeholders from the Washington metropolitan area; and Out of Many, One, a national multicultural health advocacy coalition. Additional information about SHIRE and our work can be obtained from Ruth Perot, Executive Director/CEO at 202-371-0277 or rperot@shireinc.org.



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