Along with the country’s increasing focus on healthcare quality and cost comes an increasing recognition of the important role that social determinants of health – such as housing, food security, education, employment – play in the overall well-being of US people and communities. NFF is a pioneer in a movement to organize all stakeholders around shared and more broadly defined, outcomes-oriented health goals by addressing both medical and social needs.

This approach to health means much more than seeing doctors – it also depends on what happens in your community outside your doctor’s office. When a food bank provides a family with healthy food, aren’t those family members more likely to stay healthier, longer? Imagine what could happen when that food bank – and community nonprofits that fight drug addiction and help homeless people find permanent housing – work alongside healthcare organizations delivering medical care to thousands of individuals.

Poor US communities could reap great benefits when healthcare systems and community-based providers of human services partner to leverage each other’s expertise, knowledge, and networks. Discovering the most effective ways to build these partnerships poses great opportunities and challenges for both sides, particularly in today’s evolving health policy landscape.

NFF has long supported community-based providers of healthcare and human services, including Federally Qualified Health Centers, with financing and consulting services. Building on this deep experience, we are now helping both community-based organizations and large healthcare systems explore collaborations that could produce healthier communities.

Among our recent and ongoing health work:

Customized financing for healthcare providers and for providers of the services that address the social determinants of health, helping organizations serve more people with more services, co-locate and establish partnerships that increase clients’ access to comprehensive services, and much more. Read more here and here.

Healthy Outcomes Initiative: Supported by $1.7 million from The Kresge Foundation, we are helping human-services providers in low-income communities to position themselves to communicate and collaborate with large healthcare organizations. This work includes providing capacity-building and readiness tools to networks of human-services providers.

God's Love We Deliver, a Healthy Outcomes Initiative partner, is using food as medicine to create positive health outcomes. Click here to read more.

Partnership for Healthy Outcomes: With the Center for Health Care Strategies and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, and with generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we are capturing and sharing learnings and emerging best practices for successful partnerships between healthcare and community-based organizations, particularly those serving low-income and/or vulnerable populations.

Colorado Health Safety Net: With support from The Colorado Health Foundation, we studied the drivers of financial sustainability for 21 health centers that provide primary care, dental, behavioral health, case management, public health prevention/education, and transportation to vulnerable communities in the state. We published key findings and recommendations from that work, and are now helping centers prepare for change capital grants to help them drive better health outcomes for their communities.