Much of what influences our health occurs outside the doctor’s office. It makes a difference, for example, whether a person has enough food to eat, a safe place to live, reliable transportation, or a healthy way to handle stress.
There is increasing recognition that improving health outcomes and eliminating disparities requires building connections between the health care system and parts of patients’ communities that affect their well-being – institutions such as public health departments, social service agencies, schools and churches.
To support this work in Connecticut, the Connecticut Health Foundation and the Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health have published two policy briefs on best practices in connecting clinical care with community organizations.
The first, Key Elements for Advancing Clinical-Community Integration, written by Health Disparities Institute Director Wizdom Powell, PhD, MPH, provides an overview of the work and recommendations for designing effective models. The brief notes that while clinical-community models hold great promise, making them work requires coordination among organizations that are not accustomed to communicating with one another and whose relationships are often marked by longstanding distrust and challenges in sharing power and information.
Click here to read the second brief, which focuses on the role of health information technology in linking clinical care and communities.