Improving Community Health by Strengthening Community Investment
Research Mar-15-2017 | | 1-min read
Health is powerfully influenced by where people live, learn, work, and play. In communities with deeply entrenched poverty, lack of safe places to play or exercise, access to nutritious food, housing stability, and safety issues affect stress levels, life expectancy, and incidence of chronic disease. Cities and towns, however, do not have a systematic way to leverage capital from public, private, and philanthropic sources to improve the environment for healthy living.
Pioneering hospitals around the country are investing in their communities and engaging in population health initiatives to overcome the failure of the market to deliver the goods and services that disadvantaged communities need–affordable housing, community centers, grocery stores, childcare facilities, and other infrastructure improvements–to make them healthier places to live. Among the authors’ observations:
The authors conducted hundreds of interviews with stakeholders from community organizations, government agencies, foundations, banks, and nonprofits. In this paper they provide case studies of eight pioneering institutions engaging in community investment: Children’s Health (Dallas); Cooper Foundation (Camden, N.J.); Dignity Health (39 hospitals in California, Nevada, and Arizona); Gundersen Lutheran Health System (La Crosse, Wisc.); Johns Hopkins Medicine (Baltimore); Trinity Health (93 U.S. hospitals); UnitedHealth Group (nationwide health insurance provider); and University Hospitals (Cleveland).
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