Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Coming Together to Improve Population Health, Well-Being, and Equity for All

Gianfranco Pezzino, Director

A Message from the Director of the Center for Sharing Public Health Services

As Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” That quote is just as applicable today as it was all those years ago. Here is an attempt to apply that quote to our work.

Coming Together is a Beginning

Recently the Center for Sharing Public Health Services and the Public Health National Center for Innovations announced that 10 grantees have been selected to participate in the Cross-Sector Innovation Initiative (CSII). These grantees are implementing innovative multisector partnerships between governmental public health, healthcare, and social services organizations, along with the engagement of their communities, with the ultimate goal of aligning the three sectors’ work to improve population health, well-being, and equity for all. We congratulate these 10 teams for coming together.

Keeping Together is Progress

But how do these teams keep together, both during and after the two-year grant funding period ends? After all, collaborative efforts often are temporary in nature, due to challenges with funding, structure and incentives. What can be done to make collaborations such as these more permanent? That is just one of the things the CSII will be exploring with these 10 teams.

Based on work done by the Georgia Health Policy Center and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on cross-sector alignment, the 10 teams will focus on one or more of the following areas to enhance the sustainability of their individual initiatives:

  • Share a vision and a set of priority outcomes,
  • Create a shared data and measurement system,
  • Establish appropriate financing with incentives and accountability, and
  • Develop strong governance with leadership and defined relationships driven by the voice and participation of community members.

Working Together is Success

  • Success won’t come easy, because our grantees are working on complex issues, such as:
  • Ensuring successful and equitable birth outcomes,
  • Fighting structural racism,
  • Increasing access to affordable housing, and
  • Reducing family violence and trauma.

These big issues most likely won’t be solved within the next two years. By focusing on system alignment while working toward their goals to improve population health, well-being and equity for all, the 10 collaborations will be more likely to continue working together toward success once the CSII grant funding ends.

And working together is important, because teamwork makes the dream work!