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Report of Community Capacity Workgroup

September 27, 2013

Submitted by: Susan Swider


The Community Capacity Workgroup initially began working in 2012 with a charge of looking at community resiliency. We explored definitions, models and exemplars, as well as measures and factors that promote resiliency. From this work, we moved into thinking about community capacity as the other side of resiliency. Resilient communities, that is, those that respond effectively in emergency situations, are communities with an increased capacity for healthy function overall. The Workgroup purpose then evolved to examining models of community health and development, and at our March 2013 meeting, had several good examples presented to the Advisory Group as a whole. Our purpose after this meeting was to:

  • Continue to explore successful models of community health and development
  • Identify common outcome measures, both short and long term
  • Identify common aspects or factors in development and sustainability of such models
  • Identify potential financing sources for such efforts
  • Use this information to make recommendations for policies to support such efforts

To address this purpose, we met in June, with a guest from a Chicago community development group (see external consultant list) to discuss community health and development models in Chicago. In addition, we discussed possible measurement of community health and development, with indicators that would be of relevance to both the health and development communities. Our August meeting then addressed financing mechanisms for community health and development initiatives, including social impact bonds and the Community Health Needs Assessment process as a leveraging mechanism for community health and development work. We also discussed measures of community capacity relevant to both the health and development community. Although we had no guests at that meeting, a wide range of experts provided advice/input into the discussion (see external consultant list)

Key Issues for Discussion

  • Definition of community health and development: need to begin to talk in terms that are relevant to non health people; this includes the search for broad based measures of community capacity, of relevance to multiple sectors
  • Community planning needs to be long term; increase time horizons; involve planners in the process as they have this perspective and work well across silos and understand zoning issues
  • There seems to be a lack of involvement of private sector in these long term planning cycles; this is a loss because they have resources, and often a long term planning horizon for business climate and community/regional competitiveness
  • Progressive hospitals view CHNA process as Research and development for their business plan in a community; this model should be highlighted
  • Coordination of data collection and rules for various government programs would be useful whenever possible; looking across sectors might encourage collaboration and streamline data collection/assessment processes
  • Rule making and funding which incentivizes/requires collaboration can be helpful, across government and philanthropy
  • Challenges involved in designing rigorous evaluation of community development efforts, where the outcomes are multicausal, and RCT is not appropriate method.
  • What is needed for spread and scale of successful community health and development models?
  • How to fund quarterbacking agency, which has often been seen as critical in such efforts
  • Community engagement at the grassroots level has not often been an effective part of such efforts; how can this be enhanced?

Action Plan

The Workgroup needs to consider next steps in exploring issues for recommendations to enhance the implementation and effectiveness of the National Prevention Strategy. Further work could be done on the issue of measures; inclusion of urban planning perspectives; outreach to private sector entities; and alignment/coordination of multisectoral assessment and planning requirements. This discussion will be on the agenda at the upcoming full Advisory Group meeting.

External Consultants to Workgroup since March 2013

  • Eileen Barsi, Dignity Health
  • Jim Galloway, Director of the Office of Health System Collaboration, Office of the Associate Director for Policy, CDC
  • Renee Hanrahan, Via Christi, Wichita, KS
  • Mary-Beth Harty, The George Washington University Department of Health Policy
  • Katie Horton, The George Washington University Department of Health Policy
  • Diane Jones, Catholic Health Initiative
  • Tracy Neary, St. Vincent Healthcare, Yellowstone County, MT
  • Simeon Niles Office of Health System Collaboration, CDC
  • Laura Seef , Office of Health System Collaboration , CDC
  • Paul Stange, Office of Health System Collaboration, CDC
  • Sophia Tripoli, The George Washington University Department of Health Policy
  • Julie Trocchio, Catholic Hospital Association
  • Julie Willems Van Dijk , County Health Roadmaps
  • Dominique Williams, Program Officer at Local Initiatives Support Corporations of Chicago