The BUILD Health Challenge® (BUILD) team ended last year, like many of you reading this, with more questions than answers. Questions about everything: from the role of place-based programs in supporting community partners during the pandemic, to how the field of community health can more effectively advance racial justice, to simply – what’s next?
Knowing that we could not answer these questions on our own, we turned to more than two dozen leaders in public health, health and healthcare systems, and philanthropy, in partnership with Equal Measure, to ask for their insights. We wanted to know and understand what they were thinking as a field. The results can be found in our latest report, Journeying Toward Healthier Communities: Observations and Questions for Practitioners on the Role of Systems Change Thinking.
Specifically, we asked community health practitioners:
- What are the big trends or changes in the community health field with the potential to create healthier and more equitable communities? Where are these trends emerging?
- What are the accelerants of and impediments to these trends and changes right now?
- What changes do you believe will sustain?
The interviews surfaced several emerging trends related to future opportunities to improve health and advance health equity in America. We heard how the field of community health has increasingly embraced four approaches in their efforts:
- Pursuing Systems Change
- Addressing Upstream Factors
- Building Effective and Sustainable Cross-sector Partnerships
- Advancing Equity
It is our hope that this report can help inform community health leaders’ thinking, strategies, and actions in 2022 and beyond. To that end, we’ve also developed a series of “Companion Questions” based on learnings from this report to help leaders continue their exploration into field trends.
This publication is part of a series demonstrating to the field how BUILD engage in learning, continuous improvement, and deepened commitment to equity. We invite you to read the two companion reports: Listening, Learning, and Leading Together: Insights from The BUILD Health Challenge’s 2021 Listening Tour and Moving to Center: BUILD’s Journey to Advance Health Equity.