Building and Bridging: Collaborating to Improve Health

From the article by Karen Minyard and Chris Parker on the Build Healthy Places Network Blog:

…Recognizing that health cannot be achieved or maintained in isolation, Bridging for Health: Improving Community Health Through Innovations in Financing takes a systemic approach to improving population health, much in the same way that the Build Healthy Places Network tackles community development through cross-sector collaboration.

Bridging for Health, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is aiding communities in the pursuit of financing mechanisms that rebalance and align investments in health. The Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) at Georgia State University in Atlanta is the national coordinating center. The center works with selected collaboratives across the country to improve population health and achieve equity. We believe that the key to this lies in the linkages among health care, public health, and other sectors like community development to support a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now, and for generations to come.

Bridging for Health initially selected four geographically diverse sites. The sites differ in the leadership of the collaborative and potential financing mechanism being explored, but share a commitment to upstream investment in interventions to improve population health outcomes in their community.

…GHPC’s 20-plus years of experience in health care financing, public health, technical assistance, and sustainability planning made us realize that it is shortsighted to focus financing innovations in isolation.  While communities may be energized by the idea of pay for success or a wellness trust and are anxious to jump in, they must also address the areas that complement and support innovations in financing.  Collaboratives cannot successfully implement a financing mechanism without the right partners, the right strategy, or without considering sustainability. Population health will never truly improve without an eye toward equity. Our team did a great amount of thinking about the need for a mindset change.  How could we help our communities realize the importance of getting the pieces in place to nurture the innovation?

We have developed a framework, called the “Blueprint for Action.” This guides our focus on the core areas to address with our sites:  collaboration and collective impact, innovations in financing, and health and health equity.  Through tailored technical assistance, evaluation support, resources, subject matter experts, and opportunities for peer learning and exchange, Bridging for Health works with communities for two years to catalyze progress and share the learnings to spark further innovations across the country.

Read the full article.