Dearborn chosen as one of four cities in country to host Policy and Systems Change Academy

Dearborn, along with Grand Rapids, Kansas City, MO and Mount Vernon, NY were the four cities chosen to host the Policy and Systems Change Academy in a partnership between the National League of Cities and the Urban Institute. 

With generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NLC has invited teams from these cities made up of local policymakers, directors, and their non-profit and community-based partners for an intensive five-month Policy Academy program that aims to accelerate cities’ work around climate resilience, environmental justice, and equitable public health. 

"NLC’s Cities of Opportunity initiative is about empowering cities for impactful change and the Policy Academy addresses a critical need for enhanced policymaking capacity," said Lourdes Aceves, Director of Health and Wellbeing at the National League of Cities. "We're not just aiming for incremental shifts; we're catalyzing intentional, systemic transformations towards health and racial equity, fostering a future where every policy reflects the unique needs and contexts of its community." 

The Policy Academy will be rooted in the Policy and Systems Change Compass developed by NLC’s Cities of Opportunity initiative and the Urban Institute. The Compass is a tool that guides city officials and their partners through a series of steps toward creating policy and systems change—from the identification and root cause analysis of the problem to developing and then selecting the most promising and practical policy proposals. In 2023, the Compass was piloted with teams from three cities: Dubuque, IA, Roanoke, VA, and Tacoma, WA, as a way to pursue strategic, evidence-based policy solutions to complex problems.

Through their work in the Policy Academy, city leaders, and their partners will learn how to use and apply the Compass tool, receive customized technical assistance from experts and participate in networking opportunities with fellow Policy Academy cities and experts to share best practices and key lessons learned.