In 2019, The Health Impact Project launched an initiative to forge lasting collaborations among government agencies and community nonprofits that will develop solutions for complex public health problems stemming from conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play. By combining resources and expertise from the health, housing, transportation, and other sectors, this effort aims to help state and local leaders more effectively address poor health outcomes, such as maternal and infant mortality. Such cross-sector partnerships rely on shared work and accountability and are particularly important where policy and programmatic decisions can disproportionately affect certain racial, economic, and geographic populations.
The project made two-year grants to nine states—Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington—and Washington, D.C., to create and support cross-sector, multiagency teams that will use evidence-based strategies to target social and economic drivers of health other than individuals’ behavior and access to medical care. Each jurisdiction’s team includes representatives from health care systems and a community organization, and the project and subject matter experts supply participants with technical assistance and training—in person and online—to develop coordinated action plans and track outcomes. The leadership structures, skills, and lessons gained from this work will give states a blueprint for future interagency efforts to advance residents’ health.