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Posted by Allegra East on May 10, 2017

Sharon Kandris Appointed Associate Director at Polis Center

Sharon Kandris, Polis Center Associate Director

Sharon Kandris, Polis Center Associate Director

The Polis Center at IUPUI is pleased to announce that Sharon Kandris has been named Associate Director. In this role, she will lead center-wide initiatives, cultivate the development of new initiatives and project opportunities, expand community partnerships to further the Center’s mission, direct the community informatics area as a special focus of attention for the Center, address operational issues, and oversee strategic planning.

“This is an exciting time to take on fresh challenges because The Polis Center is undergoing a new strategic planning and restructuring process in order to be more responsive to community needs and to build on our many and diverse collaborative partnerships,” Kandris said. “I look forward to developing even deeper connections in our communities and helping them build a better future.”

Kandris joined The Polis Center 18 years ago, serving most recently as Director of Community Informatics.

“For more than a decade, Sharon has provided great leadership in securing grants, contracts, and scholarships for the Polis Center,” said Executive Director David Bodenhamer. “She has directed large community-based projects, fostered strong relationships with organizations in Indiana, and has been a strong advocate for community-focused change in the National Neighborhoods Indicators Partnership. She brings great talent, vision, and energy to new role, and I am delighted that she will continue to be a model servant-leader for Central Indiana.”

Kandris serves on the United Way of Central Indiana Community Impact Committee, is a partner with the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (Urban Institute, Washington, DC), is a member of the Indiana Geographic Information Council, and is a member and volunteer at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. She was named a Hoosier Fellow of the Randall L. Tobias Center for Leadership Excellence in 2014. Kandris earned a Masters’ degree in geography from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, concentrating in geographic information systems and community planning, and received a B.A. degree in geography from Northwest Missouri State University.

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Posted by Allegra East on Oct 25, 2016

A Healthier Place to Live: A Community Conversation on Public Health

Worlds Apart: Gaps in Life Expectancy in the Indianapolis Metro Area

Worlds Apart: Gaps in Life Expectancy in the Indianapolis Metro Area

In Indianapolis, wealth determines health. If you live in a low-income neighborhood in our city, there’s a good chance you’ll die earlier – 15 years earlier, in fact in some neighborhoods. We can do better.

Join WFYI, Side Effects Public Media, and the Indianapolis Public Library  on October 26 from 7:30-9:30 a.m. at the Central Library, 40 E. Saint Clair Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204, for a conversation with community leaders and public health experts about how we can make Indianapolis a fairer, healthier place for everyone to live. A light breakfast will be served at 7:30. The discussion, moderated by Carmel Wroth, Managing Editor of WFYI’s health journalism initiative, Side Effects Public Media, will start at 8:00 a.m.

Panelists include:
Christie Gillespie – Vice President of Community Impact, United Way of Central Indiana
Tamara Leech, Associate Professor, IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI
Ron Gifford, CEO, Jump in for Healthy Kids (childhood obesity, food, etc)
Virginia Caine, Director of Marion County Health Department
Alfie Ballew, Chief Deputy Coroner, Marion County Coroner’s Office

The Health Inequality Project data release earlier this year cited health disparities by area, ranking Indianapolis near the bottom of the top 100 most populous metro areas for the life expectancy of its poorest citizens.  A report on a similar topic was published in Indianapolis in July 2015, World’s Apart: Gaps in Life Expectancy in the Indianapolis Metro Area. The Indianapolis report was produced by the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in partnership with The Polis Center at IUPUI for the SAVI Community Information System. Report authors included: Tess D. Weathers, Tamara G.J. Leech, Lisa K. Staten, Elizabeth Alice Adams, Jay T. Colbert, and Karen Frederickson Comer. Health gaps in our communities are an ongoing, important issue that cannot be covered up; we’ve got to find solutions!

Please RSVP to Paige Bova at pbova@wfyi.org or call 317-614-0502.

Event made possible with support from BioCrossroads.

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Posted by Allegra East on Oct 10, 2016

SAVI Talks! The Changing Affordable Housing Market

John Marron, report author and former Sr. Policy Analyst, Public Policy Institute, discussing affordable housing.

John Marron, report author and former Sr. Policy Analyst, Public Policy Institute, discussing affordable housing.

Lower housing costs make housing more affordable. Raising income makes everything more affordable.” – John Marron

On Thursday, October 6, WFYI hosted a SAVI Talks! presentation, “The Changing Affordable Housing Market.” The event featured highlights from a soon-to-be-released report analyzing affordable housing issues in Central Indiana, helping organizations and communities to better understand the market so their efforts might more strategically impact service provision. The report is scheduled for publication in mid-November.

The SAVI Talks! program:

  • Touched upon the difference between subsidized housing and the far broader notion of housing affordability
  • Addressed how broader market forces impact affordability
  • Discussed how the squeeze on affordability impacts families and households beyond housing
  • Suggested place-oriented and people-oriented strategies to increasing affordability

Speakers included John Marron, former Senior Policy Analyst, Public Policy Institute (PPI), and author of the report, “The Affordable Housing Market and Why It Matters,” on which he collaborated with SAVI and The Polis Center at IUPUI (his PowerPoint slides are available here); Christie Gillespie, Vice President, Community Impact, United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI), who addressed the implications of housing choices for our community (her PowerPoint slides are available here); and Gail Strong, Vice President, Community Engagement, WFYI, who facilitated reflection and discussion among event participants.


Poverty simulation exercise addressing budgeting dilemmas.

Guests also participated in a poverty simulation exercise, which gave an eye-opening experience into the hard decisions those earning  a low to moderate income have to make, especially when unexpected expenses occur such as car trouble, health care issues, and job losses. These challenges affect everything from housing choices, food, transportation, education, and healthcare options, making it nearly impossible for families to improve their lives.

Many thanks to SAVI Talks! program partners the Polis Center at IUPUI, WFYI, United Way of Central Indiana, and The City of Indianapolis, and to presentation sponsors: the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (INHP), Herman & Kittle Properties, and the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts.

SAVI Talks!, offered biannually, are informational public forums featuring report findings from a trending topic in the following categories:  health, education, basic needs, and income. Previous reports include: Worlds Apart, Gaps in Life Expectancy in the Indianapolis Metro Area and Trends in Crime: Does Perception Match Reality. Download here.

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