This is the second in a three part series. Read part one.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has released the report Time to Act: Investing in the Health of our Children and Communities which highlights recommendations from the RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America. The commission has one focus: find better methods for improving the health of all Americans.
The report offers three main recommendations.
- Invest in the foundations of lifelong physical and mental well-being in our youngest children
- Create communities that foster health-promoting behaviors
- Broaden health care to promote health outside of the medical system
Community Commons supports these ideas and, over the next few weeks, will highlight each one individually to share stories, data, and reporting tools that can help you act on these recommendations and improve health in your community. Read recommendation one.
The report further defines this into three actions:
- Support and speed the integration of finance, health, and community development to revitalize neighborhoods and improve health.
- Establish incentives and performance measures to spur collaborative approaches to building healthy communities.
- Replicate promising, integrated models for creating more resilient, healthier communities. Invest in innovation.
Action 1: Support Integration of Finance, Health and Development
“A broad range of organizations work to improve low-income communities. Yet too often, these organizations work separately from each other. To strengthen their efforts and make better use of scarce financial resources, they must work together.” –Time to Act: Investing in the Health of Our Children and Communities
The report lists several specific ways to support and speed integration, including:
- Requiring cross-sector collaboration as a condition of funding.
- Establishing and supporting a nationwide communications network that connects professionals across fields.
- Supporting a platform where examples, models, tools, and metrics can be found and shared.
- Developing skills needed for successful collaboration, including ways to tackle policy and financial barriers.
- Broadly promoting successes of cost-effective models for cross-sector collaboration.
Community Commons Collaboration Groups offer an excellent platform that supports these recommended interventions. Explore the diversity of Groups available on the Commons, see the tools available within them, and get involved with one today.
The Commons regularly features Guest Voices so that change-makers can learn from national leaders. Judith Bell, president of Policy Link, and Larry Cohen, executive director of Prevention Institute came together to write How a Group of Philanthropists Broke the Mold and Unlocked the Power of Collaboration.
Action 2: Establish Incentives and Measures to Spur Collaboration
“To encourage more effective collaboration, we must promote balance when an investment of money or resources by one sector generates savings for another. For example, investments in transportation or housing can improve health and generate cost savings to the health care system. One sector invests, but another benefits. Working together provides an opportunity for negotiating how both can benefit.”–Time to Act: Investing in the Health of Our Children and Communities
Save a thousand words by visualizing your data, using Community Commons maps, to show how neighborhood investments can improve the health of all citizens.
Our new Priority Intervention Area Tool is an easy way for you to narrow down where change strategies can have the most impact. The tool focuses in on vulnerable populations who may be at higher risk for health disparities. Collaborations can then work toward outcomes that achieve greater health equity.
It’s important to engage a broad set of partners. Robert S. Ogilvie, vice president for strategic engagement at ChangeLab Solutions, has outlined how businesses can become powerful allies when it comes to improving health in his Guest Voice Giving Business the Incentive to Promote Healthy Lifestyles.
Action 3: Replicate Promising, Integrated Models. Invest in Innovation.
“While seeking to scale up or replicate promising models, we must recognize that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Communities must determine their own challenges and opportunities and borrow from the best examples, such as Promise Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Education program that seeks to improve educational outcomes for students in distressed urban and rural neighborhoods, and Purpose Built Communities, a nonprofit that rebuilds struggling neighborhoods.”–Time to Act: Investing in the Health of Our Children and Communities
Explore your community’s unique challenges and opportunities with Commons data reports that can be created, downloaded, and shared for a variety of indicators.
Rural communities have their own struggles but are often left out of the discussion. In 2010, rural, low-income Putnam County, Missouri was ranked 74th out of 115 in the County Health Rankings (CHR). Over the next three years, community-planned and implemented strategies were used to move them to 25th in the 2013 CHR and built a healthier future for all 5,000 Putnam County residents. Read Six Steps to Community Change: The Putnam County Playbook.
Stay tuned as we continue to connect tools, data, and ideas to the rest of the Time to Act: Investing in the Health of our Children and Communities report recommendations. At Community Commons, we believe that a nation full of healthy, thriving communities is closer than you think — and to get there, we’ll need to work and learn together.