Cross-sector Collaborations and Partnerships

Essential Ingredients to Help Shape Health and Well-Being

Published in: Health Affairs, v. 35, no. 11, Nov. 2016, p. 1964-1969

Posted on on November 28, 2016

by Vivian L. Towe, Laura Leviton, Anita Chandra, Jennifer Sloan, Margaret Tait, Tracy Orleans

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Cross-sector collaborations and partnerships are an essential component of the strategy to improve health and well-being in the United States. While their importance is unquestioned, their impact on population health has not yet been fully observed. Cross-sector collaboration also is the second Action Area of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's four-part Action Framework to build a Culture of Health in the United States. This Action Area has three constituent parts or drivers: the number, breadth, and quality of successful cross-sector partnerships; the adequacy of investment in these partnerships; and the adoption of policies needed to support them. In this article we analyze outstanding examples of partnership-driven work. We also study the challenges of how partner sectors outside the formal health system, such as organizations working in the education or housing sectors, can effectively lead collaborations. We identify models of leadership that maximize the potential of all participants. We also propose the adoption of models better suited to supporting effective cross-sector collaborations. The analysis builds the evidence base for understanding and sustaining the impact of cross-sector collaboration on population health.

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