So many programs designed to improve the health of individuals, communities and populations are categorical. This focus on specific diseases or risk factors can be very helpful in focusing efforts on specific actionable initiatives. But an over-focus on disease and risk factors also risks alienating individuals and organizations that are not motivated by this deficiency focus. What if, in addition, the functional health, and the social, environmental, behavioral and health care determinants of a community were measured and reported? Might this engage and empower multiple stakeholders – both individual and groups to take responsibility for working together to improve health, its determinants and equity?
The National Cancer Institute’s April Research to Reality (R2R) cyber-seminarwill explore tools and resources, such as the County Health Rankings, to measure the health of a community and ways that have the potential to stimulate this multistakeholder engagement, and to serve as a focus for ongoing efforts to improve community health and health equity. Dr. Kurt Stange will highlight models of how measuring the health of a community and how this knowledge, generated and followed over time, can empower multi-stakeholder groups to take responsibility for working together to improve health, its determinants, and equity. Terry Allen and Paul Jarris will join the seminar to share their experiences in working across sectors to measuring community health at the local and national levels, and will engage participants in sharing their experiences and lessons learned, and thoughts on how other communities can use this approach to improve health and equity.