Dr. Deborah Puntenney spoke with Peter Block, John McKnight and other social innovators in this Abundant Community Conversation.

Moving beyond the traditional definition of community, Deborah spoke about her work applying asset-based community development principles with the Rochester Area Foundation in order to address the social determinants of health.

Deborah was a colleague of John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann at the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University for 25 years, and contributed broadly to the institute’s community-building research. In addition to authoring many of the institute’s publications, she has extensive experience working directly with community groups designing community-based participatory research projects, and partnering with them on the implementation of those efforts. Her research has taken her beyond the traditional definition of community, exploring the application of asset-based community development principles to nonprofit and philanthropic settings, as well as to specific areas of interest, including aging and health. Retired from the faculty at Northwestern in 2017, Deborah continues her work as an independent consultant, working primarily on projects in Rochester, NY. The Neighborhood Health Status Improvement Initiative, funded by the Greater Rochester Health Foundation, invites grantee communities to organize around the social determinants of health using an asset-based community development approach. Each community works from the grassroots to build a local health improvement plan that encompasses the physical, social, and economic determinants of health.