PHNCI Partners with Center for Sharing Public Health Services to Launch the Cross-sector Innovation Initiative

This entry is part 20 of 42 in the series Focus on Accreditation and Innovation

by Jessica Solomon Fisher, MCP

The challenges facing communities today are complex and stem from a variety of systems, policies, and environmental factors that impact health, often disproportionately. Public health departments have always worked to prevent the spread of disease and keep communities safe, addressing those factors that occur outside of clinical practice while also providing direct care when needed. In recent years, a range of other sectors, from housing to education, have begun to recognize their important roles in advancing the health of populations, both working on their own and through partnerships. As funds become more and more scarce and the needs and priorities of communities increase, it is incumbent on health departments to provide data, insight, and authentic community engagement opportunities to partners whose inputs can lead to innovative solutions. Whether streamlining programs offered to the community, adopting a shared vision and set of priorities, or combining resources to further the achievement of community goals, alignment across sectors can be a powerful force for meeting a community’s needs. 

With different drivers but a shared set of goals, public health, health care, social services, and other sectors can come together to work upstream and develop creative solutions to solve the complex problems facing communities today. To that end, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson, the Public Health National Center for Innovations and the Center for Sharing Public Health Services partnered to launch the Cross-sector Innovation Initiative (CSII). The goal of the CSII is to support, promote and disseminate learning about the role of governmental public health departments in aligning efforts across the health care, public health and social services sectors to improve population health. The project will focus on the role and value of health departments in cross-sector collaboration and alignment, with an understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities that these collaborations represent for public health departments.

One sector working alone cannot adequately shine a light on the opportunities that can be gained when sectors work together, bringing their various perspectives, resources, and other unique inputs to the table. However, we know that a variety of factors can serve as either barriers or facilitators to effective cross-sector work. The CSII aims to investigate and better understand those factors. Additional learning will be gained through the provision of grants aimed at fostering innovative examples of sectors coming together to truly align their work and advance population health. We are just getting started! There is much more to come over the course of the next three years. We invite the field to stay tuned and share tools, learnings, and experiences with us. We also hope you will consider applying for a grant opportunity that will be announced later this year.

For more information, contact:
Public Health National Center for Innovations
1600 Duke Street, Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314

Jessica Solomon Fisher

Jessica Solomon Fisher, MCP, is the Chief Innovations Officer for the Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI) at the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). PHNCI is designed to foster alignment and innovation in public health. In that role, she leads the development and implementation of strategy and operations for the Center. Ms. Fisher also contributes to, and connects PHNCI with, aspects of PHAB’s work with the accreditation program.

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