Bloomberg Philanthropies Approach

Focus on Cities to Drive Progress

Mayor Steve Williams of Huntington, West Virginia, discusses his city’s response to the opioid crisis with Huntington Police Sergeant Paul Hunter and the 19th United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy at the Bloomberg American Health Summit in Washington, D.C.

“Bloomberg has helped my team to understand that they can stand shoulder-to-shoulder, toe-to-toe, brain-to-brain with anybody in the world. We’re learning how to replicate and how to scale so that our work can be taken to other areas and doesn’t just have to be used in a small town.”
Steve Williams

Huntington, West Virginia

Mayors Challenge Winner Spotlight:
Huntington, West Virginia

Bloomberg Philanthropies works closely with city leaders to support their efforts to tackle the toughest challenges they face. That approach comes out of Mike’s experience as mayor of New York, where he saw cities’ potential to solve problems and improve residents’ lives.

In Huntington, West Virginia, where the rate of opioid overdoses is 10 times the national average, the city is taking a new approach to stem the crisis: improving care for frontline caregivers. City officials realized that first responders suffer from compassion fatigue because of what they experience in the fight to save overdose victims. This traumatic stress makes it increasingly difficult for first responders to provide the best care. It also spills over into their personal lives, damaging relationships with family and friends and creating unprecedented job turnover.

The Mayors Challenge will allow Huntington to embed mental health professionals and wellness coordinators within emergency response departments, ensuring that first responders are able to give the best care possible.

In the 2018 Mayors Challenge, 300 U.S. cities received training sessions to develop their proposals, 35 cities were selected to test new ideas, and 9 cities were selected as winners