The Advisory Board Company, de Beaumont Foundation, Kresge Foundation, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have announced the launch of the BUILD Health Challenge. The BUILD Health Challenge will identify and support health partnerships taking BOLD, UPSTREAM, INTEGRATED, LOCAL, and DATA-DRIVEN approaches to improving health in low-income, urban communities.

Unlike many population health initiatives, BUILD Health Challenge requires awardees to take a multi-sectoral approach, including at least one hospital or health system, the local health department, and a nonprofit organization (or coalition of local non-profits) in an equal partnership. The program evolved out of a wealth of research demonstrating that up to 70 percent of an individual’s health is determined by the interplay of physical, social, and economic environments, rather than health care and genetics.

“Community conditions such as safe streets, affordable housing and economic opportunity play a powerful role in shaping health. Improving these community conditions will require cross-sector partnerships that share resources, responsibility and data in new ways,” said Chris Kabel, Senior Program Officer at Kresge. “BUILD Health will support such partnerships that focus their work in low-income, urban neighborhoods that are ready to create or enhance health-supporting resources and conditions.”

The BUILD Health Challenge will support up to fourteen partnerships in multiple phases of development through differentiated planning and implementation grants. Project plans must be focused on low-income, urban neighborhoods, but the funds may be used to support a range of activities including investments in technology, staff expansion, advocacy, and more.

“Primary care, public health, and nonprofits – not to mention the private sector – have been operating in their own silos for too long, and the result has been decades of one-off projects, some of which are successful, and some of which are not,” said Brian Castrucci, Chief Program and Strategy Officer at the de Beaumont Foundation. “This is a coordinated, collaborative effort to develop tested models for population health improvement that can be brought to scale. If BUILD succeeds, we will change the way that medicine, public health, and the community interact, leading to better outcomes.”

The need for BUILD Health has never been more pressing, as many cities, regions and states are experimenting with new methods to achieve better population health outcomes at lower costs.  The BUILD Health partners aim to identify and accelerate the most promising models of collaboration that will promote health equity, reduce per capita health spending, share data and responsibility, and shift resources upstream.

“Today, hospitals and health systems are increasingly adopting a team-based approach to partner with patients to better manage their own health,” said Robert Musslewhite, Chairman and CEO, The Advisory Board Company. “To have the greatest impact on community health, this team concept must expand beyond providers to include other key players in our communities. I am excited for the BUILD Health Challenge to encourage these partnerships, to drive innovation in care coordination, and to measurably improve the health of our communities.”

“We know that in order to successfully address today’s most pressing health challenges, we need leadership from across sectors working together on sustainable long-term solutions,” said Abbey K. Cofsky, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We look forward to seeing the ways in which the BUILD Health Challenge will help spur this type of leadership and foster a culture of health in communities across the nation.”

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