Our Work

The partnership between Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD)’s Family Support Partnership, Racism Resilience and Response Teams, and Cities4Peace: a program of the International Association for Human Values started in the winter of 2020. At that time, two pandemics had recently been recognized as public health emergencies in the City of Tacoma: COVID-19, and Racism.

Between 2020-2022, eighty staff and community partners were trained in the SKY Mindful Leadership Retreat, a program providing team-building exercises, collective healing practices, and inner resilience training. Participants from partner organizations include employees of United Way of Pierce County, the Puyallup Tribal Health Authority, Willow Creek Correctional Center for Women, and other organizations in the community. The intention of this contract and ongoing relationship is to support people serving on the front-lines of public health activation in emergencies as well as long-term service to the community. The model used by Cities4Peace is a three day workshop, with continuous weekly follow-up sessions intended to facilitate a community of practice and a professional culture of self-care to address the extreme stress associated with public health service during a pandemic and in the aftermath. With continued interest, Cities4Peace provides avenues for training participants to become facilitators or “Peace Ambassadors.”

This model of staff and community partner training aims to address primary disease prevention by impeding the accumulation of stress using evidence-based techniques seen clinically to reduce stress hormone levels, and other biomarkers of psychological-emotional stress. Building inner resilience through daily practices of stress reduction that are shared in the workshop are also pivotal in leveling the playing field of health disparities associated with racial discrimination. Systemic and regular stress-reduction, through daily practice of the SKY and associated techniques has been established to have a positive impact on physical health, which is damaged by both acute and chronic exposures to stressful events.




Cities4Peace is an Initiative of the International Association for Human Values