Lack of coordination between health and community service agencies often leads to service duplication and gaps, missed opportunities, wasted resources and poor outcomes for the most vulnerable populations. A place-based model, where providers collaborate in one location to improve the health and well-being of the populations they serve, can help address these challenges.
The Fund for Public Health in New York City has received a $250,000 award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, managed by its Systems for Action national program office. The award supports Partnerships to Encourage Actionable Cultures of Health (PEACH), a study by the New York City Department of Health’s Center for Health Equity. PEACH will investigate how aligning a city health department, clinical service and cross-sector community organizations with shared governance can improve efficiencies as well as health in the neighborhood.
The research team will examine the Center for Health Equity’s East Harlem Neighborhood Health Action Center, which includes services provided by: the Department of Health; clinical and non-clinical partners; community health workers; faith- and community-based organizations. The Health Action Center keeps a database and referral system that helps connect East Harlem residents to clinical services or non-clinical services (e.g., food pantries, transportation, child care).
The research team will also assess the community health outcomes and satisfaction, partner success in linking clients to needed services and system coordination to improve service efficiency and neighborhood health. The study results will help inform best practices for replicating this model in other neighborhoods across NYC and the U.S.
“This study will help us better understand how to support the integration of health care and social services to address the needs of community residents and improve neighborhood health,” said Sara Gardner, executive director of the Fund for Public Health in New York City. “To achieve neighborhood level impact, work across multiple partners — government and non-government, must be aligned.”