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Critical Steps to Addressing Social Isolation through Housing

Wednesday, January 31, 2024 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EST

This webinar will explore the relationship between housing and health and the risks posed by social isolationism in communities. Panelists will include community development practitioners that work on healthy housing best practices, with a focus on the intricate connections between housing and mental health. The discussion will provide attendees with a clear understanding of how emotional, psychological, and social well-being contribute to overall community well-being and stable housing for families. Attendees will learn strategies to help counter the impacts of social isolation and successful examples of addressing isolation in housing.

This is the ninth webinar in our webinar series sponsored by NeighborWorks America.

Dr. Rodney Harrell, Ph.D. – Rodney Harrell is Vice President of Family, Home and Community at AARP. In that role, he is the enterprise lead on Housing issues, developing and leading the organization’s strategy to address them.

He also leads AARP Public Policy Institute’s team of issue experts on Long-Term Services and Supports, Family Caregiving and Livable Communities. The Family, Home and Community team provides thought leadership through research, policy analysis, and creating innovative solutions to ensure that older adults and their families have access to the options and services that can help them to thrive at any age.

Dr. Harrell and his team invented the award-winning AARP Livability Index, the first of its kind to
measure the livability of every neighborhood and community in the US. His research on housing preferences, neighborhood choice, and community livability are integral to the Index’s design. He is also a speaker, writer and blogger on issues impacting communities and the diverse groups of people who live in them.

Dr. Harrell graduated summa cum laude from the honors program at Howard University; earned dual master’s degrees in public affairs and urban planning from the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University; and received a PhD in urban planning from the University of Maryland. He is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, was named to the initial class of Top Influencers in Aging for his work, and holds several board leadership positions.

Natalynne Baker – Natalynne has over 20 years’ property management and social services experience. After serving as a landlord for many years, she felt called to keep people in their homes instead of just collecting rent. She has been with St. Mary Development for over 10 years and is currently Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer. She manages a team of service coordinators, prevention specialists and community health workers to serve over 1000 older adults in SW Ohio. She holds a degree from Sinclair, Wright State University, her OSPS from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Board and her CHW certification from the Ohio Board of Nursing. She also serves on the Montgomery County Frail Elder Services Advisory Committee,  and Area Agency on Aging Advisory Committee.

Dr. Ruth Thomas-Squance –  Ruth Thomas-Squance, PhD, MPH, is Co-Executive Director at the Build Healthy Places Network a national center positioning cross-sector partnerships from community development, public health and healthcare sectors to lead and leverage community-centered investments across the country to address the drivers of health and advance racial equity.

Dr. Thomas-Squance’s passion for contributing to the promotion of health and social equity has taken her from a successful career in biomedical research to management in the non-profit and public sectors. She brings almost 20 years of experience working in multi-sector collaborations with diverse partners. She served as founding executive director of a Bay Area non-profit providing training in emotional intelligence skills development to low income and minority populations. Before joining the Network she worked at San Francisco Department of Public Health in Whole Person Care, a Medi-Cal waiver program strategizing cross-sector approaches to improve outcomes for adults experiencing homelessness and high users of urgent emergent healthcare services.

She is immediate past Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for US Green Building Council. She also serves on the Multisector Partner Advisory Group of the Center for Health Justice at the American Association of Medical Colleges and on the America Public Health Association’s Alliance for Disease Prevention and Response.

Dr. Thomas-Squance earned her doctorate from Imperial College of Science, London, UK and her Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley. She lives in San Francisco, CA.

Romi Hall– Romi Hall comes to NeighborWorks with more than 10 years of experience working at the intersection of health, housing and community development. She’s spent much of her career with two NeighborWorks organizations: Beyond Housing and the East Bay Asian Local Development Corp. (EBALDC).

Most recently, Hall was director of neighborhood collaborations at EBALDC, where she led partnerships to generate a pipeline of nearly 400 units, attracted a full-service grocery store, secured more than $5 million from arts and culture and health /hospital funders, supported resident-led placemaking projects, and launched two new collaboratives. During her time at Beyond Housing, she helped plan and launch the 24:1 initiative.She also has prior experience in early childhood development and faith-based organizing. In 2019, she was named a Fulcrum Fellow with the Center for Community Investment, where she honed skills in capital absorption and community investment. She received her master’s in public health from Drexel University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Nevada, Reno.


Event Registration:


Wednesday, January 31, 2024
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm


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