Good Samaritan Health Center provides medical, dental, health education, mental health, and social services on a reduced sliding fee scale to low-income Atlanta residents. In 2015, the Center had over 27,000 patient visits. Recognizing the importance of accessible, healthy food for good health, the Center started an urban farm in the center of a food desert and created the FoodRX program, through which its doctors provide patients with “prescriptions” for weekly supplies of fresh produce.
Established in 1951, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta focuses on improving quality of life in the 23-county Atlanta metro area. It holds $900 million in assets and disburses about $100 million in grants annually. As part of its Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, the foundation is supporting the creation of BetterLife Growers, an aeroponic operation that will sell fresh lettuce and herbs to area anchor institutions and other local establishments. The enterprise is expected to create around 25 living-wage jobs in the Mechanicsville community.
Nancy Martin, on behalf of the Healthcare Anchor Network
In December 2016, leaders from 40 health systems gathered in Washington, DC to explore the potential to more fully harness their economic power to inclusively and sustainably benefit the long-term well-being of American communities. Together, they discussed best practices and strategies to advance the Anchor Mission of healthcare.
At the conclusion of the convening, the Healthcare Anchor Network was formed to support health systems collaborating nationally to accelerate learning and local implementation of economic inclusion strategies.
This report summarizes the events of that convening and next steps, inviting your hospital or health system to join the Network and help advance the Anchor Mission of healthcare in your institution, in your community, and nationally.
The economic and racial divides that drive health disparities within communities are stark and widening. Twenty-two percent of children in the United States live in poverty, a percentage that has remained relatively unchanged since 1960. The number of Americans living in concentrated poverty has doubled from 7 million to 14 million since 2000...read more
Founded in 1925, The Denver Foundation is Colorado’s oldest and largest community foundation. The nonprofit currently has $722 million in assets and manages more than 1,000 charitable funds. Through its Economic Opportunity grant program, the foundation aims to build community wealth by developing and retaining economic resources in low-income communities and by supporting residents working to develop the local economy. The foundation also has an impact investment program that it uses to provide low-cost capital to nonprofits or intermediaries making a positive impact in the Denver metro area.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
In the United States, some populations suffer from far greater disparities in health than others. Those disparities are caused not only by fundamental differences in health status across segments of the population, but also because of inequities in factors that impact health status, so-called determinants of health.
Only part of an individual’s health status depends on his or her behavior and choice; community-wide problems like poverty, unemployment, poor education, inadequate housing, poor public transportation, interpersonal violence, and decaying neighborhoods also contribute to health inequities, as well as the historic and ongoing interplay of structures, policies, and norms that shape lives. When these factors are not optimal in a community, it does not mean they are intractable: such inequities can be mitigated by social policies that can shape health in powerful ways.
Healthcare’s role in creating healthy communities through increasing access to quality care, research, and grantmaking is being complemented by a higher impact approach; hospitals and integrated health systems are increasingly stepping outside of their walls to address the social, economic, and environmental conditions that contribute to poor health outcomes, shortened lives, and higher costs in the first place.
Democracy Collaborative is highlighted in Next City "With the U.S. medical care industry spending more than $340 billion on goods and services every year, health systems and hospitals have the type of money that could revitalize the communities where they save lives."