Introducing Bright Cities

July 14, 2016
Family with toddler taking a walk

I’m so pleased to announce that the first four cities have embarked on the Health Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) Bright Cities program. Dearborn, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Seattle have all committed to undertake the Beacon Cities assessment process, the first step in a Bright City. My name is Heidi Gerbracht, and I’m the program director for Bright Cities.

I am passionate about the potential of local government to make dramatic positive impacts within their communities and in so doing, to shine as an example for other communities to learn from. Local governments are pragmatic, service-oriented, and deeply involved in relevant policy and program areas, which makes them a great partner for meaningful environmental health intervention.

Each city is also different from every other city, so each Bright City will have a specially-tailored program to ensure that the program works most effectively for their residents. These cities will be at the forefront of communities who are working to protect the brains of their most vulnerable residents — babies in utero and up to age 2 — from neurotoxic chemicals. The Beacon Cities phase involves a detailed assessment of each city’s unique risks, priorities, and opportunities, as well as a stakeholder process to educate and engage their community.

At the end of this phase, each city will have negotiated a city-specific implementation plan with HBBF, and will launch the Bright Cities phase of the program. We will work collaboratively with these cities throughout both phases of the program to achieve measurable results. We crafted this program together with local governments and partner organizations. As a startup, we’ll be simultaneously innovating and refining the program as we measure our work, always with the goal of expanding our impact.

This launch was the result of the work of many people, and the collaborative nature of our work will continue to help make innovation and improvement possible. I congratulate Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Dearborn, and Seattle on this important first step, and I look forward to bringing you more news about the Bright Cities program in the near future.  

Heidi Gerbracht
Bright Cities Program Director
Healthy Babies Bright Futures