Supporting Health Care and Community-Based Organization Partnerships to Address Social Determinants of Health
Increasingly, health systems, providers, and payers recognize the significant influence that social factors such as housing, food insecurity, employment status, and transportation have on well-being and health care spending.
Gun violence is a public health crisis in the United States, with approximately 120,000 Americans injured or killed by guns each year. GIH surveyed Funding Partners in June 2018 to explore investments in gun violence prevention and found that health funders who support gun violence prevention efforts are investing in a wide range of prevention strategies, including support for high-risk populations and policy advocacy. The survey results have been compiled into a one-page summary infographic.
Health care is uniquely positioned to serve as an anchor sector because of its evolving mission toward more holistically addressing community and well-being, its stable role as one of the largest, community-rooted employers, and its mostly nonprofit and public status.
At a recent meeting of state health policymakers, California team members were asked to compare their budget problems with the Titanic’s sinking and determine which health initiatives were essential and worthy of being loaded into a lifeboat. One member quipped, “We’re just trying to figure out whom to EAT in the lifeboat!”
The nation’s public health system is under increasing pressure as state and local health departments are asked to take on more responsibilities with fewer resources. Despite these challenges, there are many opportunities for foundations to work with and strengthen state and local health departments.
Each fall, influenza sickens millions of Americans and causes approximately 36,000 deaths. This year, however, could be much worse as scientists and public health experts anticipate that H1N1 influenza will reemerge, perhaps in a more virulent form.
Health care costs are a major concern in the current political debate around health care reform. In 2007 the United States spent $2.24 trillion (15.2 percent of gross domestic product) on health care. Studies have shown that 75 percent of the rise in health care spending is due to the rise in prevalence of treated chronic disease.
The Kansas Health Foundation believes that all residents of Kansas deserve equal levels of public health protection and access to services regardless of where they live in the state. In partnership with the Kansas Association of Local Health Departments (KALHD), the foundation has worked to explore how regional collaboration among local health departments might strengthen these departments and support their efforts to become accredited.
At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), our mission is to improve health and health care for all Americans. But improving health for the most vulnerable requires acknowledging that factors such as poverty, violence, inadequate housing, and education contribute to poor health.
Health funders at the national, state, and local levels have made substantial commitments to improve the functionality of the public health system. Using a variety of approaches, they seek to develop the capabilities, services, and competencies that enhance public health practice.
Every year, approximately 30,000 Americans lose their lives to gun violence. Efforts to reduce this tragic toll raise important questions: How can gun violence be prevented?
Foundations are well positioned to collaborate with federal, state, and local health departments to create change within the public health system. They can also support and guide partnerships that embrace a variety of community stakeholders and draw on the strengths of each. This Issue Focus looks at strategies and examples for establishing such partnerships.