At a mid-February convening at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Improving Health Outcomes through Faith-Based and Community Partnerships: Best Practices from Health Systems in the Field, senior leaders from 29 different hospital systems from across the country gathered to share best practices, experiences and emerging models for engaging communities as partners in health.
This two-day event, following a first convening held September 20, was hosted by the HHS and White House Offices for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, with the support and cooperation of participating health systems. It was designed to tap the collective wisdom of innovators among health leaders addressing health disparities through community partnerships.
Participants shared an extraordinary exchange of ideas and their understanding of the complexities involved in delivering excellent care while serving to meet the community needs that affect better health outcomes. The agenda considered how to set the stage for strategic community assessment and asset mapping, and how those assessments and assets inform the investment of community benefit dollars. Participants also discussed how strong metrics for tracking data and evaluation can further support the case for community partnerships improving health outcomes.
Here are just a few of the exciting things participants shared during the meeting:
Advocate Health Care’s Bethany Community Health Fund (Bethany Fund) to support existing community organizations as they build, promote and sustain healthy communities on the West Side of Chicago.
Henry Ford Health System’s Cost Savings/Cost Avoidance tool demonstrating the positive impact of faith community nurses on readmissions and chronic disease management.
The agenda and presentation materials can be found on the Methodist Healthcare Center for Excellence in Faith and Health’s website
New collaborations and conversations are already forming to advance the work of partnering with communities with a focus on health assets to reduce health disparities. The value in sharing and adapting best practices was illustrated when folks from IU Health related how they were able to move forward with plans for a $5 million new health center after presenting data based on new asset mapping techniques gleaned from an earlier conversation. The collaborative is “shifting the paradigm from return on investment to return on life,” according toDora Barilla, Director of the Loma Linda Community Health Development.
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Alexia Kelley is Director and Heidi Christensen is Associate Director for Community Engagement at the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.