Article contributed by: Myani Guetta-Gilbert, Program Officer, The BUILD Health Challenge 

In the ever-evolving landscape of health equity, two recent webinars ignited reflections on the transformative potential of The BUILD Health Challenge® (BUILD) model. These webinars highlighted fundamental examples of thought leadership and lived experience that propel the imperative for community-driven multi-sector partnerships. Their resonance with BUILD’s mission and work reinforced the significance of BUILD’s bold, upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven approach.

Hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the first webinar, “Investing in Health and Well-Being: Reimagining Opportunity and Accountability,” delved into healthcare organizations’ crucial accountability in improving community health. It revealed a shared belief in the necessity of proactive engagement and collaboration among health systems, community organizations, government, and the financial sector. This discussion echoed the BUILD model’s core tenets, especially multi-sector partnership. Tyler Norris, a visiting scholar, emphasized the staggering costs of healthcare in the United States and the enduring health disparities that persist nationwide. Norris’s advocacy for expansive investments beyond hospital walls to address social determinants of health showcased the potential for anchor institutions, like hospitals, to champion community health by reinvesting resources directly into social determinants of health support. The BUILD model, which invests in partnerships between healthcare, public health, community-based organizations, and residents, exemplifies the lessons of opportunity and accountability shared during this enlightening webinar.

The second webinar, “Community Led Multi-Sector Partnerships as Engines for Equity-Focused Health System Transformation,” hosted by The Funders Forum on Accountable Health, spotlighted inspiring initiatives that underscored the importance of engaging communities experiencing health disparities as the driving force behind health equity. This webinar demonstrated how healthcare and government-backed partnerships with local community engagement can be powerful catalysts for change. Initiatives from Washington, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and California showcased the potential of community-driven multi-sector partnerships.

Notably, the webinar featured the success story of one of BUILD’s awardees, the San Diego Wellness Collaborative. This collaborative envisions improving health equity and population health through multi-stakeholder collaboration. A poignant example was the collaboration with HealthNet, San Diego’s managed care plan, to address the low rates of Well Child Visits (WCV) among Black/African American members in the Southeastern region. By integrating the Community Health Worker (CHW) model and partnering with Children’s Primary Care Medical Group, they successfully brought the vital work of CHWs under Medi-Cal’s umbrella and within a formal healthcare framework. The tangible impact was remarkable, with a 60% closure rate of the WCV care gap compared to the 29% success rate without CHW outreach. This achievement has inspired HealthNet to explore expansion of the CHW model to tackle other issues within the Medi-Cal system. Next up, as part of their BUILD project, the San Diego BUILD team will leverage their track record with multi-sector partnerships to address refugee community health by enhancing housing accessibility in El Cajon.

By investing in multi-sector, community-centered partnerships, BUILD aims to effect transformative systems change and elevate community power in the pursuit of health and racial justice. Now, more than ever, we must amplify the work of our BUILD communities as an essential component of our collective quest to center community voice, drive systemic change, and advance health equity.


To learn more about The BUILD Health Challenge, our model, and what we’ve learned from BUILD communities, please visit our Resources.