Learnings from the Cross-sector Innovation Collaborative

Learnings from ten Cross-sector Innovation Initiative (CSII) grantees focusing on aligning across sectors to advance health and equity.

Ten Cross-sector Innovation Initiative (CSII) grantees recently culminated a nearly two-year journey with us, focusing on aligning across sectors to advance health and equity. These grantees collaborated across public health, healthcare, social services, and community organizations to address issues such as health and housing, birth equity, language justice, racism as a public health issue, and more.

The COVID-19 pandemic began unfolding in the US just as the grantees were beginning their work with us. Although efforts shifted to respond to the pandemic, these 10 grantees continued to press on with their efforts to advance health and equity by shifting from in-person to virtual to keep partners and communities engaged, aligning communications among the collaboratives, committing to the shared vision and goals, and more.  A few overarching learnings are noted below:

  • Trust is essential to the relationship and program. Trust-building takes time, intentionality, and authenticity. Individual-based trust and organizational-based trust are both needed to advance sustainable collaborations.
  • Having an organizing framework and shared vision is integral to making progress on an overarching goal or outcome collectively. The Framework for Aligning Sectors was used by the CSII grantees.
  • Advancing equity requires working at the individual, organizational, and community levels simultaneously. Tools like equity assessments taken by individuals, organizations, and across partnerships can be useful to develop shared goals and understand progress.
  • Community engagement must be supported through compensation for community members for their time to provide their lived and learned experiences and expertise.
  • Ceding power to community and using the individual and institutional power one has can are strategies that should be employed
  • Language justice efforts are an important way to authentically create a culture of inclusiveness and belonging, eg, conducting meetings in the language that is spoken by the majority of the participants.

These are just a few of the learnings from CSII. Over the coming weeks we will be developing a comprehensive package of learnings and stories from the grantees.

About the CSII: The Center for Sharing Public Health Services (CSPHS) and the Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI) are co-leading the Cross-sector Innovation Initiative (CSII), with funding and support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The CSII is comprised of ten cross-sector projects working toward specific population health and equity goals through systems alignment efforts. To learn more about this initiative, visit www.phnci.org/cross-sector/csii.