BUILDing Together for Healthier Communities

Health is generally viewed through the prism of health care – the doctor's office, the emergency room and the ordinances. But in reality, much of our health depends on our environment – our homes; our access to fresh food and transportation; where we work, live and play. On September 12 the BUILD Health Challenge (BUILD) awarded prizes to 19 communities that are innovating in their efforts to address root causes or upstream health factors in their own community. Representatives from each community (including leaders from local community organizations, hospitals or health systems, and public health departments) gathered at the Center for Total Health in Washington DC the following day to begin their two-year journey with BUILD

As BUILD recipients, these communities across the country are tackling a variety of issues including: transportation planning, housing quality, workplace anti-smoking policies, and more for the purpose to improve community health. And the core of each community's efforts is the application of B ancient (policy-oriented), U pstream, I ntegrated (multisectoral partnerships ), L ocal (resident engagement), and D guided approaches (BUILD). Donors for this second round of the BUILD Health Challenge have committed a total of $ 8 million to support these efforts, and each selected community has identified local hospital partners that will collectively add more than $ 5 million in monetary support and support. nature to the project.

The Center for Total Health was the ideal setting for us all to champion this multi-sectoral approach. With interactive exhibits showing how health in the community can be improved and made sustainable through a shared commitment to moving resources, attention and action upstream.

Now in its second round, BUILD is one of the country's most promising efforts to improve health in vulnerable neighborhoods. The initiative has already resulted in innovative new intersectoral approaches, such as remodeling homes to improve indoor air quality and control childhood asthma; leverage data to better understand patient needs and behaviors beyond the clinical context to promote healthy lifestyles; reimagining the food supply and distribution channels in communities to combat food insecurity, and more.

During their stay at the Center for Total Health, participants spoke with their peers through hands-on workshops, socializing during networking sessions, and enjoying their surroundings throughout the day. . The event began with a collaborative session, a chance for the 19 communities to share commonalities, by region and region, and to share the learnings. A storytelling workshop followed, challenging members of the community to develop and share a fascinating story that supported and advanced the efforts of their project.

The closing conference featured a conversation between NPR journalist Allison Aubrey and Chris Kabel of The Kresge Foundation, in which Aubrey shared his insights on the complex role of food and nutrition in communities. The closing Q & A session allowed communities to deepen their journalism expertise and learn to engage their audiences to help amplify their stories and create meaningful change.

We are excited to see what they will build in the years to come! For those who wish to know more, visit for more information.

The BUILD Health Challenge is made possible through the support and leadership of: The Advisory Board Company, North Carolina Foundation Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Colorado Health Foundation, Beaumont Foundation, Episcopal Health Foundation, Interact for Health, The Kresge Foundation, The Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, The New Jersey Health Initiatives, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Telligen Community Initiative and The WK Kellogg Foundation.


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