The BUILD Health Challenge on Tuesday awarded nearly $8.5 million in grants to 18 projects—selected from more than 300 applicants—that aim to improve the health and wellness of individuals residing in low-income communities.

Background on BUILD

The BUILD Health Challenge is a national award program funded by The Advisory Board Company, the de Beaumont FoundationThe Kresge Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Colorado Health Foundation. It was created to foster and expand partnerships among health systems, community-based organizations, local health departments, and other organizations to identify and address the complex, upstream problems that influence the overall health of local residents.

The program is intended to address the upstream causes of health (factors like socioeconomic status, environmental factors, opportunities to choose nutritional food, and fitness) that play an important role in shaping the health outcomes of individuals and communities.

More than 300 city-based partnerships from 41 states submitted applications for the inaugural round of the BUILD Health Challenge and 67 hospitals earned spots in the second round of the challenge. Each submission included at least three partners from a low-income urban neighborhood: a hospital or health system, a local health department, and a community-based nonprofit.

The applications highlighted various public health issues as varied as stress remediation, food system assessments, immunization programs, housing, education, and more, according to a press release.

Details of the announcement

In total, 18 organizations were awarded funding for various programs aimed at addressing public health needs.

During the announcement of the award recipients, National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo said the “collective impact” of the BUILD Health Challenge is “key to helping reorient us from the traditional model of public health.” DeSalvo also stressed the need to “address the non-medical social determinants of health” in order to “help medicine evolve,” concluding, “Public health does save your life every day, we just don’t know it.”

Advisory Board CEO Robert Musslewhite added, “Many of our members are in the process of redesigning their care delivery models so they can transition to proactively managing the health of their patient populations. With the BUILD Health Challenge, we are striving to change health care fundamentally, with radical interventions at the source of the problems that our members face with population health management.”

Award recipients

Seven recipients were awarded implementation grants of $250,000 over two years that will be used to build up existing collaborations or boost health data and analytics programs.

  • The Healthy Ontario Initiative of Ontario, California, will boost access to healthy, affordable food and safe areas to be active in order to reduce high obesity rates and the prevalence of obesity-related conditions. Led by: Partners for Better Health, County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health, and San Antonio Regional Hospital.
  • Engaging the Community in New Approaches to Healthy Housing of Cleveland, Ohio, will aim to improve housing conditions in the Brooklyn Center neighborhood to curb lead poisoning, asthma, and heart disease. Led by: Environmental Health Watch, Cleveland Department of Public Health, and The MetroHealth System.
  • Healthy Homes East Bank of Des Moines, Iowa, will partner to decrease asthma-related hospital visits by improving social and environmental factors in East Bank neighborhoods. Led by: Polk County Housing Trust Fund, Polk County Health Department, Broadlawns Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, and UnityPoint Health.
  • In Albuquerque, New Mexico, Addressing Healthcare’s Blindside in Albuquerque’s South Side will expand access to healthy food and give providers the opportunity to refer patients to a service area to address social and economic needs of community members in the city’s Southeast Heights and South Valley neighborhoods. Led by: Adelante Development Center, Bernalillo County Office of Health and Social Services, and Presbyterian Healthcare Services.
  • The Bronx Healthy Buildings Program of Bronx, New York, will improve housing conditions and energy efficiency for low-income individuals in five Bronx neighborhoods to address high rates of asthma and decrease preventable hospitalizations. Led by: Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Montefiore Medical Center.
  • Improving Health through a Sustainable Food System of Pasadena, Texas, will create a community-supported food system to decrease obesity and aim to improve obesity-related health outcomes. Led by: Houston Food Bank, Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, CHI St. Luke’s Health, and Memorial Hermann Health System.
  • San Pablo Area Revitalization Collaborative of San Pablo, California, will boost economic development and reduce health disparities in West Oakland. Led by East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, Alameda County Public Health Department, and Alta Bates Summit Medical Center.

Meanwhile, 11 projects were awarded $75,000 to jump start projects aimed at remedying various health challenges.

  • Youth Driven Healthy South Los Angeles, will initiate a plan to engage youth leaders to develop a community with healthy food and appealing urban spaces while engaging high-potential area youth in leadership development to foster a sustained movement towards health, safety, and wellness. Led by: National Health Foundation, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and California Medical Center.
  • Increasing Access to Behavioral Health Screening and Support in Aurora of Aurora, Colorado, will help give families access to a network of both clinical and community-based resources to address mental health needs. Led by: Together Colorado, Tri-County Health Department, and Children’s Hospital Colorado.
  • Project ACCESS (Assessment and Community Collaboration to Engage and Strengthen Southeast Colorado Springs) of Colorado Springs, Colorado, will examine health data and research, engage community members, and mobilize the community to improve neighborhood safety and decrease violence. Led by: YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region, El Paso County Public Health, and Penrose-St. Francis Health Services.
  • Health Forward/Salud Adelante of Chicago, Illinois, will work to improve the health of the immigrant population in the New City and East Garfield Park neighborhood by integrating legal, medical, and public health services. Led by: Legal Assistance Foundation, Chicago Department of Public Health, and Cook County Health and Hospital System.
  • Northeast Denver Unified of Denver, Colorado, will develop solutions to the social, environmental, and economic factors that can impact child health and wellness. Led by: The Civic Canopy, Denver Public Health, and Denver Health’s Community Health Services.
  • Healing Together: Preventing Youth Violence in Upton/Druid Heights of Baltimore, Maryland, will create a comprehensive youth violence prevention plan for the Druid Hill and Upton Heights neighborhoods. Led by: Druid Heights Community Development Center, Baltimore City Health Department, and R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at theUniversity of Maryland Medical Center.
  • Healthy Hill Initiative of Springfield, Massachusetts, will boost public safety and ramp up economic development in the Old Hill neighborhood. Led by: HAPHousing, Springfield Department of Health and Human Services, Baystate Health System, and Sisters of Providence Health System.
  • Chandler Park Healthy Neighborhood Strategy of Detroit, Michigan, will revitalize the run-down neighborhoods surrounding Chandler Park to create job opportunities, improve access to healthy food, strengthen transit infrastructure, and combat crime. Led by:Eastside Community Network, Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion, andSt. John Providence Health System—Community Health Investment Corporation.
  • Seattle Chinatown-International District Healthy of Seattle, Washington, will improve economic development and housing in the city’s International District. Led by: Interim Community Development Association, Public Health Seattle and King County, and Swedish Medical Center.
  • In Portland, Oregon, BUILDing Health and Equity in East Portland will work to reduce health disparities in East Portland by expanding access to affordable housing, green spaces, and healthy food. Led by Oregon Public Health Institute, Multnomah County Health Department, Providence Health and Services, Kaiser Permanente NW, Legacy Health, and Adventist Health.
  • Building a Healthy and Resilient Liberty City of Liberty City, Florida, will partner to reduce violence and more effectively help trauma victims in their recovery in the Liberty City neighborhood. Led by: Florida Institute for Health Innovation, Florida Department of Health – Miami-Dade County, and Jackson Health System.

All health systems that have partnered with the community organizations pledged a 1:1 match with financial and in-kind support to advance the joints goals of the organizations (BUILD release, 6/9).