About two years ago our department began on a journey to chronicle thought-provoking articles, activities and innovative ideas that focused on community engagement, community health and equity. We encourage readers to look back at previous posts, as well as review a recent post from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Improving Community Health by Strengthening Community Investment: Roles for Hospitals and Health Systems.
This post highlights activities here in Baltimore and around the nation where hospitals are making investments to improve community health. This six-year study with hundreds of stakeholder interviews identified the following factors to be critical in getting health systems to start and succeed with community investment interventions:
- High level institutional champion and support
- Understanding the range of possible interventions and investment approaches
- Staff with non-traditional experience
- Leveraging staff interest and capacity where it exists
- Narrative that ties efforts to mission/goals
- Finding partners in the community and taking time to build trust
- Engaging the community in defining priorities
- Patience, modesty and willingness to listen
We hope that these stories and examples will inspire you to continue to invest your time and talents to work within and beyond our department in improving the health of Baltimore.
-Thomas K.M. Cudjoe, fellow in Geriatrics