Five Cities Get a Makeover, Highlighting New Ways to Make Communities Healthier
A new contest will soon turn five chosen small cities into testing grounds that pilot new ways to improve the health of communities. Sponsors call it the “Way to Wellville” and it has attracted the interest of 42 cities and counties across the U.S.
PI’s Rob Waters wrote about the contest today in his blog for Forbes. Here’s an excerpt:
The contest will turn the five chosen communities into real-world, small-town laboratories. The hope is that by focusing on community-wide prevention and wellness efforts, each town will achieve real gains on a series of metrics that measure the health of the community and its people.
The experiment is part of a new wave of innovation in the area of population health that seeks to organize and finance healthcare delivery in ways that improve health and reduce costs. It builds on place-based efforts to improve local health pioneered by the Healthy Communities movement when it began 25 years ago. These efforts, which continue today with support of federal REACH grants and funders like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the California Endowment, focus on the links between the health of a community and its environment—including transportation, land use and access to healthy food and activity. All are informed by a growing understanding that to reduce rising rates of chronic disease, the health system must shift its focus to prevention by addressing the community factors that lead to poor health.
Prevention Institute has been deeply involved in many of these initiatives, supporting collaborative efforts to improve population health and helping develop and catalyze new ideas and concepts. We pioneered the concept of the Community-Centered Health Home, a model which seeks to expand collaboration between healthcare providers and community partners in order to address community conditions. In a paper coming next month, we’ll look at how community clinics in California are helping lead the way to this new kind of engaged health system.
Meanwhile, we’ll be watching the Way to Wellville closely to see where this new experiment goes.