WEBINAR

Powerful Partnerships: Public Health, Healthcare, Community Development & Community-Based Organizations

Our health care system has mostly focused on treating diseases rather than preventing people from getting sick in the first place. However, there’s a growing shift to focus on improving underlying community conditions. Partnerships between hospitals and health systems, public health and community development sectors and community-based organizations represent a major opportunity to significantly improve the health of neighborhoods and the people who live in them.
Report Author Bill Sadler, Public Health Alliance

Innovative Community Investment Strategies: The Current State of Practice and a Vision for Greater Implementation in Southern California

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed both critical gaps in our public health infrastructure for emergency response, as well as the stark underlying health inequities that place low-income and communities of color at greater risk. Everyone’s health outcomes are tied together, and we must address the root causes that lead to health inequities that make some communities more vulnerable not just to COVID-19, but other chronic conditions and public health threats.

Because local health departments work to support optimal population health, they are often focused on rectifying inequities so everyone has the opportunity and resources they need to be healthy. They move “beyond the clinical walls” with investment in community-based initiatives to improve the social determinants of health, such as racism, access to stable housing, transportation and good jobs. Innovative cross-sector partnerships between the public health, health care, and community development sector along with community partners are developing to support these innovative, non-traditional health interventions.

In June 2020, the Alliance released a comprehensive report outlining innovative multi-sector partnerships and innovative community investment models between public health, hospitals and health systems, community development, and other sectors that leverage resources and align investments to improve people’s health.

These innovative partnerships represent a major opportunity to increase much-needed investment in addressing the root causes of poor health. Health care systems are partnering with community development finance institutions to make investments in affordable housing and are issuing grants and low-interest loans in programs that support education, arts and culture, healthy food and other social determinants of Health. For example, Dignity Health and Kaiser Permanente are making large-scale capital investments in affordable housing, childcare centers, grocery stores, and Federally Qualified Health Centers.

The report was produced with our partners from the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC) and its Communities Lifting Communities (CLC) community health initiative.

Innovative Investments in Action: Hospitals Funding Affordable Housing & More

The innovative community investment strategy models outlined in the report are making a mark in regions across the U.S. but have been slow to spread to Southern California. Through a review of 100+ resources/case studies and 30 interviews, the report identifies best practices and recommendations for implementing similar partnerships in Southern California.The report identifies various innovative community investment strategies currently being implemented across the nation, as well as the multitude of partnerships and opportunities emerging in this field. Innovative Community Investment Strategies: The Current State of Practice and a Vision for Greater Implementation in Southern California provides a high-level overview of our key findings and recommendations, with links to additional resources.

In June 2020, the Alliance released a comprehensive report outlining innovative multi-sector partnerships and innovative community investment models between public health, hospitals and health systems, community development, and other sectors that leverage resources and align investments to improve people’s health.

This report can be a useful guide to people in the public health, health care, community development and other sectors seeking more information on innovative community investments strategies, including best practices, case studies and lessons learned in implementation.

The California Accountable Communities for Health Initiative (CACHI) is one profiled case study in the report. CACHI brings together multi-sector partners including hospitals, public health departments, schools, social service agencies, community organizations and others in multiple sites to align health outcomes and prevention interventions and explore creating a Wellness Fund. Where established, the Wellness Fund weaves together funding and resources from a variety of sources to fill critical community needs outside of the health care system. Community engagement lives at the core of CACHI with community members being involved in prioritizing health needs and strategies. CACHI promotes shared outcomes and resources. CACHI sites are sharing data using the Healthy Places Index mapping tool to collect information on community conditions, identify communities of high needs, and align the data with policy actions.

You can read about dozens of case studies and lessons learned in the report and the Appendices. Specifically, this report can be used to:

Support for this report was provided by the California Endowment and Blue Shield of California Foundation.

Webinar Recap: Best Practices in Innovative Community Investment Strategies

On June 30th, 2020 we learned from a panel of experts from the hospital, community development and public health sectors to discuss best practices for collaboration on innovative community investment strategies. Speakers discussed how they are working to build partnerships between sectors, identify community health needs, and explore implementation of investment strategies in Southern California and across the United States.

Below are some key takeaways from the presentations.

What are Innovative Community Investment Strategies?
Aligning non-traditional financial investments and programmatic outcomes, with multi-sector partners from healthcare, community development, public health, and other sectors, for improving the social determinants of health and community conditions. Examples include investments in affordable housing, local hiring and procurement practices, small business growth, healthy food access, and more.

Southern California Hospital Commitment—George Greene, Hospital Association of Southern California
HASC is comprised of nearly 180 hospitals and 35 health systems. They launched Communities Lifting Communities (CLC) in 2017 to create hospital programming to reduce health disparities across Southern California. CLC works closely with the Public Health Alliance of Southern California (Alliance) on various health equity programs and partnered together to produce this report and expand implementation of innovative community investment strategies among hospitals and health care systems, public health and community development partners across Southern California.

Innovative Community Investment Strategies Report Key Findings & Recommendations—Bill  Sadler, Public Health Alliance of Southern California
Momentum around these types of investments and partnerships is growing. The report is the most comprehensive inventory on best practices summarizing over 120 resources and 52 place-based initiatives. Spending time upfront on building partnerships with executive level champions, and including community engagement, is critical for success. Public health is often missing as a partner, but when included adds valuable expertise, data and insight with engaging the community.

Innovative Partnerships in Action—Colleen Flynn, Build Healthy Places Network
The Build Healthy Places Network is at the center of building partnerships between health, community development and finance institutions. They even have a playbook Partnerships for Health Equity and Opportunity. Colleen Flynn shared the Stamford Health and Charter Oaks COC example. The hospital gave the housing authority a site to build mixed income housing and created a Wellness District complete with an urban farm and more community amenities.

COVID-19: Time to double down on our upstream investments—Thomas Yee, Center for Community Investment
The pandemic is an opportunity to double down on upstream investments and for hospitals to use their leadership and influence to make a difference. Thomas Yee shared a great example from Dignity Health in San Bernardino of how hospitals can have an impact without necessarily spending money. The city didn’t have money to complete the Arrowhead Grove redevelopment project after coming out of bankruptcy. Dignity Health, which had previously provided a bridge loan to the project, acted as a convener and brought together state leadership and CDFI’s which helped secure $20 Million. Their job wasn’t to spend more but used their influence to unlock other sources.