Partnering to Catalyze Comprehensive Community Wellness
There is mounting recognition among health professionals that truly improving health outcomes in the U.S. must be an interdisciplinary, cross-sector, and collaborative endeavor. Independently, none of our distinct health systems – not health care, public health, nor social services – is fully equipped to address acute conditions and the upstream social determinants that contribute to poor health outcomes in the first place.
To this end, in early 2018 the Public Health Leadership Forum (PHLF) teamed with the Health Care Transformation Task Force (HCTTF), a group of leading health care payers, providers, purchasers and patient organizations, to develop a framework that supports enhanced collaboration between health care and public health entities. Partnering to Catalyze Comprehensive Community Wellness: An Actionable Framework for Health Care and Public Health Collaboration outlines essential elements and key strategies for shaping effective, health-based collaboratives among public health, health care, and community-based organizations. Together the PHLF and HCTTF articulated and endorsed a vision for “comprehensive community wellness;” described in the white paper as an approach:
“that values and supports all people achieving their highest possible levels of health by simultaneously addressing all determinants of health. […] When assuming such an approach, the health department, hospital, and housing authority share at least one common goal: to improve the health and well-being of the people they serve. They work in concert, each leveraging their own skillsets and that of their partners, to accelerate and achieve the shared goal.”
To help realize this vision, the framework draws on the collective expertise of public health and health care practitioners already working to institutionalize such partnerships across the country.
With the collaborative framework as a starting point, the PHLF and HCTTF invite others to join them in fostering the cross-sector relationships that make comprehensive community wellness possible, recognizing that it will require action from key stakeholders. They invite:
- Public health and health care leaders to use the framework to convene collaborative groups, commit the time and resources needed to effectively collaborate on a shared vision, and grow a generation of health professionals who view multi-sector collaboration as the norm.
- Local, state, and federal policy makers to learn from the examples of effective cross-sector collaboration that informed development of the framework to advance policies and programs that create the catalysts and conditions in which collaborative wellness approaches thrive.
- Health practitioners to identify opportunities to engage and support community-based organizations in structured partnerships to ensure health interventions can truly take hold.