People living in border cities face barriers connecting to healthcare and health care resources. The cities of Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan are border cities that have been described as "downturn" and "broken" cities. Both cities share social and economic problems such as high unemployment, poverty, poor social support, homelessness, and addiction, and these problems worsened in 2020 when Windsor and Detroit became hotspots for COVID-19. When compared to other cities, people living in Windsor and Detroit have poorer health, and higher rates of disease and deaths that could be prevented. Catalyzing Community Connection (CCC) is an intervention created to help cities and communities work together to overcome obstacles to health for their citizens. The CCC intervention matches trained volunteers to help people who might otherwise fall through the cracks of care systems because of race, gender, disability, age, or other barriers. CCC helps people navigate the care system, build social connections, and find community resources.
In this project, we form a new Windsor-Detroit partnership with that will bring together regional health experts and citizens to plan how to implement and evaluate the cross-border CCC intervention and share the learnings. This project will also be a beginning step in forming a group of stakeholders who are motivated to discuss research and other opportunities that could improve the health of people living in the cities of Windsor and Detroit. Our international team is made up of health researchers, computer science and data experts, Canadian and US health care leaders, and legal/policy experts. We will complete a scan of relevant community programs to identify new stakeholders, and lead a series of meetings to generate ideas, understand priorities, and create opportunities for advancing cross-border population health.