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©2016 Josh Kohanek; photo courtesy of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Kevin Barnett on Community Development and Health in Shelterforce

February 13, 2018 | Kevin Barnett, Public Health Institute | Shelterforce Magazine

Hospitals and health systems can’t solve societal challenges alone, but they can play a key role in mobilizing and aligning joint resources to bring positive changes to low-income communities. 

In Shelterforce Magazine, Kevin Barnett, Dr.P.H., M.C.P., a senior investigator with the Public Health Institute, explores the opportunities for collaboration between the health and community development sectors. He argues that much of the groundwork has been laid by some health systems that have taken the lead in partnering with community development stakeholders and in beginning to raise their voices in the public policy arena—but the time has come to move these partnerships from small-scale transactions to a full-scale transformation, both in our institutions and in the communities they serve. The piece also highlights what's already happening in communities across the country, and provides recommendations for a path forward.

Kevin writes: "As health systems take into consideration the social determinants of health, it has become clear that broader strategies are needed to reduce the demand for high-cost treatment of preventable conditions. Many health care systems are informing those strategies through the integration of data collected as part of community health needs assessments, which are required of tax-exempt hospitals. Others are going the next step to mobilize the assets of community stakeholders through partnerships that provide wraparound services and build social support systems."

Read the full piece, Aligning Health Systems With Community Development.