Partnerships between hospitals and community stakeholders are essential to improving population health. To understand how hospitals and communities can develop and sustain partnerships, the Health Research & Educational Trust, working with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, conducted 50 interviews with hospital and community leaders from 25 diverse communities across the United States.
These interviews revealed best practices for identifying community health needs and potential partners, and overcoming challenges to build a culture of health.
To address the rising rate of childhood obesity, as well as reduced resources for physical and nutritional education, PIH Health in Whittier, Calif., and the Los Nietos School District formed Healthy Los Nietos (HLN), a school-based wellness collaborative. HLN has a community advisory board from a diverse set of community-based organizations and government entities. The HLN collaborative focuses on increasing the number of students who maintain a healthy weight and improving the overall health and wellness of school district staff and families.
The HLN collaborative coordinates student education on health and wellness topics, provides annual student health screenings and immunizations, develops school wellness policy and environmental change strategies, and engages parents and community members.
Indiana University Health (IU Health), Indianapolis, partnered with Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana in 2015 and now provides funding for the CARE Mobile Food Pantry. The partnership offers 6,000 meals a week to six neighborhoods affected by high rates of poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, and violent crime. The program seeks to reduce crime rates in communities by de-escalating tension caused by hunger. Food is distributed by volunteers and local police and public safety department employees, which also builds goodwill among residents.
There is much to consider in the planning phases of partnership development.
Develop a partnership based on prioritized community health needs.
Successful partnerships benefit hospitals and their staff members, patients, and the community. Share your community partnership success stories and challenges so we all can learn from each other.