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May 16, 2018

Connecting on Issues Important to Us, Our Communities

The Richmond Fed regularly hosts programs to create a rich, two-way dialogue on economic issues between the Fed and the communities we serve.

By Jack Cooper

Two recent programs held at Richmond Fed offices highlighted the importance of connecting with Fifth District business and community leaders in order to share our Bank’s research and to develop a better understanding of the economic issues facing our communities. Programs like these and others held around the District provide valuable insights that help inform the Bank’s policy perspectives, and bring economic data to life. They also help create a rich, two-way dialogue on economic issues between the Fed and the communities we serve.

Sonya Waddell presented to over 90 community leaders at our Baltimore office.

In Baltimore, our Bank hosted a program with over 90 community leaders about the economic and social impact of the opioid epidemic, an issue of growing concern for the Fifth District and the country. Regional Economist Sonya Waddell provided an overview of the opioid epidemic and the connection between labor markets and opioid use. Evan Behrle, special advisor for opioid policy at the Baltimore City Health Department, spoke about the response to the epidemic by the city, which in 2016 had the highest overdose fatality rate in the country.

Santiago Pinto spoke to over 100 LMR and Lead Virginia alumni at our downtown Richmond office.

We also partnered with Lead Virginia and Leadership Metro Richmond (LMR) on a program that focused on “Cities in Transition.” Over 100 LMR and Lead Virginia Alumni heard Richmond Fed Senior Policy Economist Santiago Pinto discuss the forces that shape urban areas, why cities grow and decline, and his latest research on the economic challenges and opportunities facing Petersburg, Virginia. In the Fifth District, many cities have experienced rapid economic growth, while other “economically specialized” cities like Petersburg have experienced slow decline and high poverty levels.

“Programs like these, and the community partnerships that help create them, further broaden the Bank’s knowledge and perspective on critical community issues within our District while also improving the public’s understanding of the Fed and these issues,” said Kelley McCall, who leads the Bank’s community engagement efforts.

For similar programs, follow our Conversations with the Fed public speaker series about economic issues affecting our communities.

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Jim Strader (804) 697-8956 (804) 332-0207 (mobile)
Laura Fortunato (804) 697-8196 (804) 698-0927 (mobile)